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? — cover reveal

Here is the cover for my next book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in July 2017.  Since it (the cover) is now on some websites (notably Oxford UP & Amazon.com), I thought I’d share it here. THANKS to Oxford UP’s Lucas

Again. And Again. And… ENOUGH!

I can’t watch the latest videos of police murdering black men. I feel that I should watch them, to bear witness. But… the depressing regularity of these videos threatens to engulf me in despair. So, I am not watching the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Instead, I will write a few words – expressing sentiments I’ve shared before

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

Village Creek: map of lots, 1952

Created Equal: The Planned Integrated Community of Village Creek, Conn.

For America’s Independence Day, here’s a little-known chapter in the history of American anti-racism. Following the Second World War, progressives founded a dozen planned integrated communities across the country. While working on my biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, I learned about one of those communities – a section of Norwalk Connecticut directly adjacent

Five reasons to get One Word from Sophia

Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail’s One Word from Sophia (2015) was published this month. Here are for reasons you should get (buy, borrow, barter) the book for the young people in your life – or for yourself. (Grown-ups can read children’s books, too, you know.) It’s funny. Sophia wants a giraffe for her birthday. So, of

Charleston, Family History, & White Responsibility

In response to concerns expressed by some members of my family, I have removed this blog post. This marks the first time that I’ve removed or changed something for reasons other than finding an error or a typo. This post will not reappear here.  But nor will it completely disappear.  I plan to revise and

Notes on Selma (the film)

As you’ve likely heard already, Selma is a powerful film. See it. I cried a fair bit. The violence is palpable. Gunshots, people being gassed, the soggy crunch as truncheon strikes human beings, the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson. The visceral brutality of the whites in power. Watching the film, I kept thinking Ferguson, Ferguson, FERGUSON! And all Ferguson has

Walt Disney's Story Land: 55 favorite stories adapted from Walt Disney films (Golden Press, 1974)

The Archive of Childhood, Part 2: The Golliwog

The second in my “Archive of Childhood” series. Trigger warning: images of a racist doll appear below. I’ve included it because this post is about racism, and I didn’t feel I could talk about the racism without displaying the doll in question. NOTE. A revised and expanded inquiry into this subject forms the Introduction (“Race,