How to diversify the classics. For real. (Oxford UP blog)

As last week’s failed attempt at diversifying classic literature recedes in your memory (the pace of news can overwhelm, I know), over at Oxford University Press’ blog today is a piece I turned in on Friday. I offer five better ways that publisher might bring diversity to the classic novels. Here’s an excerpt: Publishers and…

Sherman Alexie & #MeToo

As many teachers do, I teach Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  When confirmed reports of his sexual harassment and other abuses of power became public, I knew I had to talk to my class about it — I had already taught Absolutely True Diary in my on-line Multicultural Children’s Literature class earlier in…

What to do with Dr. Seuss?

The objects of your nostalgic longing may disappoint you, if you are willing to look at them openly and honestly.  If you read, create, or write about children’s literature, today — the 114th birthday of Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) — would be a good time to admit this to yourself.  OK, the time for…

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? (Talks at Google)

And now,… presenting a 45-minute illustrated lecture of my Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books. Indeed, here are two versions, one in English and one in Spanish (which is also delivered via sign language).  Both versions were recorded in the past couple of…

7 Questions We Should Ask About Children’s Literature (Oxford UP blog)

White nationalism is on the rise in the US and nativism is in the ascendant across the globe.  What role can literature for children play in teaching the next generation to be more empathetic, to respect difference, and to reject hatred?  How do we find children’s books that promote these values?  And what do we…

We Need Diverse Scholars

The most powerful panel at last year’s Children’s Literature Association conference was “Needs of Minority Scholars,” featuring Sarah Park Dahlen, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Laura M. Jiménez, and Marilisa Jiménez García. If you are at the Children’s Literature Association conference right now, I encourage you to attend the follow-up session, “Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Changing the…

Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and Why We Need Diverse Books

Here’s some news I’ve been itching to share: Oxford University Press will publish my next book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and Why We Need Diverse Books. Also, this coming Monday, I will be turning in (to Oxford) the complete manuscript of the book. Though it’s too…

Disagreement, Difference, Diversity: A Talk by Christopher Myers

This is not the title of the talk that Christopher Myers gave here on Thursday. It was called “Please Don’t Agree with Me: the Need for Disagreement in Debates About Literature for Young People.”  However, I’ve aligned these three words — disagreement, difference, diversity — in my title because one of Myers’s central points is that…

“The Boundaries of Imagination”; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014

Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? — Walter Dean Myers, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” too often today’s books remain blind to the everyday reality of thousands of children. Children of color remain outside the boundaries…