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…

Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education today, I have a piece on “Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times.” Here’s one of those resolutions: Teach students to use language well. We can help them to be wary of lazy euphemism — not just because it is bad…

Advice for Aspiring Academics (in Inside Higher Ed)

Attention, graduate students, adjuncts with tenure-track aspirations, and recent tenure-track hires*! Always be publishing Believe in and doubt merit Do not define success according to academe’s terms … and 9 other pieces of advice in “Advice for Aspiring Academics,” published in today’s Inside Higher Ed. Regular readers of this blog may notice that this is the…

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, Racism, and the Cultures of…

On Reading the Expurgated Huck Finn; or, Why We Should Teach Offensive Novels

As you may recall, three years ago NewSouth Books published an edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer in which editor Alan Gribben replaced the n-word with “slave,” and the in-word (“Injun”) with “Indian.” Many (including yours truly) criticized Gribben’s decision, and most critics focused on Huckleberry Finn. But…

10 “Bests” from 2010

1. Best novel that I missed when it came out: Guus Kuijer’s The Book of Everything (Scholastic, 2006).  Narrated by a nine-year-old, this is an all-ages book about love, faith, and growing up.  It has a sense of humor, too.  I devoted a post to this book earlier in the month. 2. Album of the Year:…