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…

Surviving Trumpism. Restoring Democracy.

With apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton,… How does an unhinged, thin-skinned, son of a Scots and a Klansman, born into privilege and wealth, a thug who loves only himself, his money and his station, become the next leader of this nation? There are many reasons, including the false equivalency of the media (Clinton’s emails being…

Migration, Refugees, and Diaspora in Children’s Literature: Call for Papers (1 Nov. 2017)

A Special Issue of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly Edited by Philip Nel Deadline: 1 November 2017 In September 2015, photos of three-year-old Alan Kurdi — his corpse washed ashore on a Turkish beach — came to symbolize the urgency of the Syrian refugee crisis. World leaders promised to do more, people debated whether printing the pictures…

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…

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…

Regarding the Pain of Racism

When people ask me about the steps to empathize with someone who’s been incarcerated, as if — and in some ways, there is a grand liberal tradition of wanting to imagine that you can feel black pain, which is itself almost always an exercise in violence and privilege. Not just something that can’t be done….

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…