Philip Nel, giving commencement speech, Kansas State University, 10 Dec. 2022

Learning, Unlearning, and the Freedom to Read (commencement speech)

I was asked to give the commencement speech at the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony this morning. Here is the video — my speech begins at 15:01. Below, the full text.         Good morning, graduates, families, friends, fellow teachers and fellow learners — for we are all always learning and, I think, all always teaching.

Harold vs. Donald, round 2

Last year, there was Donald and the Golden Crayon, a satirical look at Mad King Donald, inspired by Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955). For more on that, see my interview with the book’s author and publisher from October 2018. This year, it’s Donald and the Black Sharpie, in which at least four five six people have invoked Johnson’s hero to

P. Shauers, Donald and the Golden Crayon

Donald and the Golden Crayon

Today (20 Oct. 2018) would be Crockett Johnson’s 112th birthday.  In commemoration of that event, I have two – yes, two – posts for you!  The first is an interview with the author and the publisher of the new satirical book Donald and the Golden Crayon.  Enjoy! “In the middle of the night, Donald woke

Constance J. Foster, This Rich World: The Story of Money, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (McBride, 1943): front cover

Crockett Johnson Tells the Story of Money

Today is the 111th birthday of Crockett Johnson (1906-1975). To celebrate, let’s take a deep dive in his oeuvre – looking at one of his lesser-known books, This Rich World. The popular story is that Crockett Johnson began creating books for children when he illustrated Ruth Krauss’s The Carrot Seed (1945). This is a compelling

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, Volume Four (1948-1949): Notes and queries. UPDATED!

Good news: I’ve finished the Afterword and Notes for Crockett Johnson‘s Barnaby Volume Four: 1948-1949 (co-edited with Eric Reynolds, and coming next year from Fantagraphics)!  Revision to first sentence: we might put “finished” in quotation marks because there are a few references that stump me.  Perhaps you can help? At the back of each book, I

How to Read Harold

To celebrate Crockett Johnson‘s 110th birthday, I offer some advice on how to read Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955). Sort of. This is not so much “advice” as it is a glimpse of my work-in-progress, How to Read Harold: A Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson, and the Making of a Children’s Classic.  The book (when finished, and presuming anyone