Laughter and Resistance: Humor as a Weapon in the Age of Trump (Horn Book)

In its new issue, The Horn Book joins the resistance. If the previous statement is a slight overstatement (and it is, because the magazine’s values have opposed those of Trumpism since before it acquired that name), it is only a slight overstatement.  The May-June 2017 issue includes at least four pieces critical of the current regime:…

Refugee Stories for Young Readers: Francesca Sanna’s The Journey (Public Books)

Over on Public Books today, I have a new, short piece on Francesca Sanna’s The Journey, a.k.a. one of the best picture books published last year.  If you have yet to read it, check out “Refugee Stories for Young Readers” (my essay), which includes some images from the book.  In the piece, I observe that As Francesca Sanna’s…

MLA 2018 Call for Papers! Calling Dumbledore’s Army: Activist Children’s Literature

Books can encourage children to question rather than accept the world as it is. Literature for young people can invite them to imagine a world where black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, poverty does not limit one’s life choices, LGBTQ youth know they are loved, indigenous peoples’ rights are respected, the disabled have…

Making Mischief of One Kind and Another: Wild Things!

If you follow The Niblings (via Twitter or Facebook), you’ll know that two of us — Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) and Julie Walker Danielson (Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) — have co-written a new book, Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature. It’s out today! It’s great! Go get it! Oh, I should probably tell you…

Strike!

As American fast food workers strike for a living wage, it’s worth remembering that this struggle has a long history. It’s also worth teaching some of this history to children, so that they can learn about collective action, and fighting back against the powerful.  Julia Mickenberg and I collect some of these stories in the…

Fighting Rape Culture: Steubenville, Activism, and Children’s Books

Laurie Penny calls Steubenville’s “rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment.” As she says, “The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated.”  In calling it the “Abu Ghraib moment” for rape culture, Penny says, “It’s the moment when America and the world are being forced, despite…

The Company Owns the Tools

It’s Labor Day.  Looking for a pro-labor novel for older children/young adults?  Thanks to Archive.org, you can download (for free) the full text of The Company Owns the Tools, a 1942 novel written by Henry Gregor Felsen (1916-1995) under the pseudonym Henry Vicar. Here’s what Julia Mickenberg has to say about the book in her…

Jose Aruego (1932-2012)

Maurice Sendak, Ellen Levine, Jean Craighead George, Leo Dillon, and now Jose Aruego.  It’s been an all-too-mortal year for children’s books.  Mr. Aruego died on August 9, his 80th birthday. I never met Mr. Aruego, but he did kindly grant Julia Mickenberg and me permission to use his illustrations for Charlotte Pomerantz’s The Day They…

Radical Children’s Literature Now! (article)

Since people have asked to be kept informed, “Radical Children’s Literature Now!” — Julia Mickenberg‘s and my article — is out in the latest issue of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.  Here are the first two paragraphs and their respective footnotes:           Focusing on literature for younger children published in the last decade—as well as on…