February, 2022 President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

Right now—today, right after I finish writing this note—I’m teaching Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X in my junior/senior English seminar on Race & Representation in YA Literature. If you don’t know this award-winning novel in verse, I highly recommend it. In brief, powerful vignettes, the novel depicts a fifteen-year-old Dominican girl’s sophomore year in high school: her conflicts with her over-protective Catholic mother, the hypersexualization and harassment she encounters from men in school and on the street, and the development of her poetic voice. My students are knocked out by the power of the poetry, the honesty of its depiction of sexual harassment and microaggression, the refusal to exoticize its Afro-Latinx protagonists. I hope that those of you who teach are having similarly enlivening experiences right now, whatever you are engaged with: for me, it’s what makes it all worthwhile. And The Poet X is one of those books I first heard about from you, my colleagues. Indeed, my entire syllabus is an homage to ChLA, filled with books I learned about in your talks and articles, or in conversations among conference-goers or committee members. So thank you: you are making my spring semester sing.

I hope we can do the same for you. As you probably know, ChLA is in a period of transition: we have not had a full-time association manager since last summer, have not had an in-person conference since 2019, and have spent the last year working with a DEI consulting firm. Things feel a little shaky at times. But our core values are solid: inclusivity, diversity, integrity, development, and celebration remain at the heart of what we do. As we move forward towards the conference in June, the Board and Executive Committee continue to keep those values in mind. They helped guide our decision to approve a pilot program, brought to us by the Diversity Committee, to waive conference registration fees for a small number of first-time attendees who are Black and Indigenous scholars and students from the conference’s area, as well as scholars and students who teach at or attend Atlanta-area HBCUs or Indigenous colleges. We hope to be able to expand this program in the future. It is a small step, but one we are happy to be able to make even in the midst of economic uncertainty, as it reflects both our core values and acknowledges the importance of diversifying our membership. My deep thanks to Michelle Pagni Stewart, Diversity Committee Chair; Cristina Rhodes, Diversity Committee Liaison; and the entire Diversity Committee for bringing this proposal to the Board.

There’s more news as well:
● Starting this month, we have a new Association Manager, Steve Gigantiello. Steve has over twenty years of relevant experience, including association management experience with Meeting Expectations. He will be working 50% time with ChLA, initially supporting Kelly Johnson and working especially on conference planning. After June he will transition to more association management duties. Email to [email protected] reaches both him and Kelly, who also continues to support us–and who has our gratitude for her generous assistance in this long-term “interim” position!






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ChLA Awards and Grants - Nominations and Applications will open in December 2020.

ChLA will begin accepting online nominations and applications for our awards and grants beginning December 15, 2020 continuing through February 1, 2021.  If you know someone whose undergraduate or graduate work deserves to be recognized by ChLA, please consider nominating them for the Carol Gay Award or the Graduate Student Essay Award.  Is there someone within ChLA that has contributed in significant ways to enhance others’ scholarship and/or professional careers within the field of children’s literature?  Nominate them for the Mentoring Award!

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July 2021 President's Message

Our successful first virtual conference, ChLA 2021—The Arcade, ended over six weeks ago, and my head is still spinning. Thinking about it actually sends me back to my first ChLA 20 years ago, in Buffalo, NY. At the time I was a recently-tenured faculty member and had spent my sabbatical shifting my focus from Victorian literature to children’s literature instead of working on the “tenure” book that I have, actually, never written. Then, as now, I came back from the conference filled with new ideas, with hope, with possibility—and with no small amount of trepidation as well.

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2021 Phoenix Call for Papers

Call for Roundtable Participants:
Phoenix Award Session

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Anne Devereaux Jordan Award - Call for Nominations

The Anne Devereaux Jordan Award is intended to honor the lifetime achievement of an individual whose scholarship and/or service have had a significant impact on the field of children’s literature scholarship. The award is not restricted to ChLA members or to those whose work has benefited the Association specifically. The award may be given posthumously. To nominate someone for the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award, send a letter that explains the person’s accomplishments and contributions to children’s literature scholarship and/or service to the ADJ Award Committee chair, Bev Clark, at [email protected]. If possible, include the nominee’s current vita with the nomination letter. Nominations must be received no later than October 1, 2020. Although nominees are considered annually, there may be years in which no award is given.

2021 ChLA Conference

Theme: The Arcade
Hosted by Emory, Georiga Tech and SCAD
June 10-12, 2021
Learn More and Submit A Proposal
The arcade. Maybe it makes you think of neon flashing lights and cacophonies of strange sounds, or maybe your mind immediately jumps to visions of Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Maybe the word conjures nostalgia for childhood friendships and fun, as seen in Stranger Things. Perhaps your imagination wanders to the pachinko parlors of TokyoOr maybe you go to the traditional origins of the word, seeing the covered walkways of seventeenth-century French architecture or the contemporary covered markets of Santiago. Maybe the arcade, for you, remains linked to the theories of Walter Benjamin, prompting reflection on consumption and capitalism.
However you understand or conceptualize the arcade, its existence and definition hinges on it being a public space—its accessibility. Who, historically and in contemporary cultures, is let into the arcade, and who is denied admittance? 
The arcade and children’s literature intersect through the fantastic possibilities they render. But, as Ebony Elizabeth Thomas asks in The Dark Fantastic, “are the cartographies of dreams truly universal? When we dream inside the storied worlds of printed and digital books, fanfiction, fanart, fan videos, television shows, movies, comics, graphic novels, online fandom communities, and fan ‘cons,’ do those worlds offer all kinds of people escape from the world as we know it?” (2, emphasis added). Indeed, the video-game arcade and gaming industry as a whole have long been considered a white-male space structured by the exclusionary conceits of capitalism. In this sense, can the arcade be an inclusive dream world, or is it a contested public space of protest—or maybe both?
For ChLA 2021, we will explore these questions of dream worlds as well as accessibility and inclusion through the lens of children’s literature and culture in the American city often called the “cradle of the Civil Rights Movement”—Atlanta.
We invite papers that explore the idea of the arcade, broadly understood, in children’s and young adult literature, media, and culture. Papers might address:
  • Gendered, classed, sexualized, and racialized spaces in video games 
  • Depictions of arcades in children’s/YA literature, television, and film
  • Benjamin’s flâneur and the urban space in children’s literature
  • Ways that video games and other imagined worlds for children colonize, decolonize, and indigenize shared spaces
  • Gaming centers and commercial amusement in international children’s literature
  • Accessibility in disabling public spaces
  • Shared imagined spaces and communities for young people 
  • Game theory approaches to children’s/YA literature
  • Public or commercial spaces as community in pre-1900 children’s literature
  • Intersections between fantasy and consumerism 
  • Atlanta as inclusive or exclusive space for youth of marginalized communities
  • Social and imagined spaces designed by children
  • Public spaces imagined especially for children: museums, zoos, libraries, schools, art museums, playgrounds, etc.
  • Public arcades as educational spaces, examining history or culture through installation exhibitions
  • Representing public versus private space in picture books
  • #Own Voices inroads in video games and media for children
Building on the popularity of the syllabus exchange, we are welcoming proposals for pedagogy posters, which may be submitted in addition to or instead of paper proposals. Rather than a recreation of the syllabus exchange, pedagogy posters should focus on specific approaches to teaching children’s/YA literature or media. We envision the poster session as a chance to come away with concrete ideas for adaptation/adoption to your own classroom. They can feature particularly successful assignments and examples of student work, information on adapting children’s/YA lit classes to online instruction, or approaches to teaching and discussing particular texts. The poster session may also be an excellent opportunity to invite student participation in ChLA.

NOTE: If your paper was accepted for the 2020 conference that acceptance will roll over to 2022 UNLESS that same abstract is accepted for 2021—in which case, you will need a new submission for 2022.

2021 ChLA Election Nominations

We wish to solicit your help in selecting a slate of candidates for the ChLA general election that will be held in February of 2021. Please make recommendations for any or all positions listed.  You will find the nomination form by logging into your ChLA account and clicking on "Member Center" under the "Members" tab.

ChLA-Sponsored Sessions at the 2020 MLA Annual Convention

See your colleagues present their research at the ChLA-Sponsored Forums at the 2021 MLA Annual Convention, which will be virtual.

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ChLA Asserts Core Values of Inclusivity and Diversity

The ChLA Board has approved the publication of the organization’s “Core Values” - the essential principles that underpin the work the organization and its members undertake to fulfill the ChLA mission to “Encourag[e] high standards of criticism, scholarship, research, and teaching in children’s literature.” To learn more about the values that motivate ChLA, please visit the ChLA website and its page devoted to articulating its core values.

ChLA Core Values

ChLA Announces New Committees

ChLA has established three new committees in response to the organization's evolving needs. These committees are devoted to identifying and addressing problems and challenges within the organization (Ombuds Committee), reviewing reports of alleged violations of the organization’s Anti-Harassment and Appropriate Conduct Policy (Ethics Committee), and ensuring that ChLA honors its commitments to equity, diversity, and access, especially for disabled members of the organization (Accessibility Committee). Descriptions of these committees may be found in the newly revised and updated Policies and Procedures Manual, approved by the ChLA Board in September 2020. 

 

Host or Participate In Upcoming Virtual Meetings and Workshops

ChLA members are invited to propose virtual meetings or workshops to discuss topics of interest to the ChLA community. Members may also volunteer to host virtual workshops sponsored by the ChLA Membership Committee. 

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President's Message

Children’s books saved my life. 

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ChLA Presidential Office Hours

Thomas Crisp, ChLA President, holds monthly virtual Office Hours. During those times, members have an opportunity to speak with the President in an informal setting to share their thoughts, concerns, and to discuss matters related to our organization. Please know that during those meetings, Thomas will not make official remarks or speak on behalf of the organization. The purpose is for him to hear directly from you about anything you want to share regarding ChLA. Thomas will bring what he learns during those sessions to the Executive Committee and Board of Directors on an ongoing basis. 

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President's Message

As the end of February nears, I want to note that registration is open for the June 2020 Children’s Literature Association conference, “Sustainability Through Story: Eco-Justice, Children’s Literature, and Childhood.” I hope that you can join me in Bellevue, June 18-20. I understand from the conference organizers Michelle Martin and Liz Mills that Bellevue is a beautiful mid-sized city within easy access of Seattle.

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ChLA Panels at MLA 2021

ChLA is sponsoring three sessions at MLA 2021 in Toronto, Canada, January 7-10:

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2022 MLA ChLA-Sponsored Session Call for Papers—January 6-9, Washington, D.C.

2022 MLA ChLA-Sponsored Session Call for Papers—January 6-9, Washington, D.C.

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Peter Hunt Named the 2020 Anne Devereaux Jordan Award Recipient

The author or editor of three dozen books, hundreds of articles, reviews, and editorials, and frequent guest lecturer at universities and conferences, Peter Hunt has had an exceptional influence on the profession. His work on narrative theory’s intersection with children’s literature was important in the 1980s, and since then he has done a great deal to theorize, challenge, and expand the academic study of children’s literature. He coined the term “childist criticism,” arguing the need to appreciate, understand, and value the perspectives of children. His books have been translated into nine languages, including Greek, Arabic, and Chinese, and he has served the field through his editorial work, including editing and annotating several classic works of children’s literature. His scholarship and service have already been honored with the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Society for the Fantastic in the Arts (in 1995) and the Brothers Grimm Award for services to children’s literature, from the International Institute for Children’s Literature in Osaka (in 2003).

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Giving Tuesday 2019

ChLA would like to thank everyone who gave to the Children’s Literature Association on Giving Tuesday.  Because of your support, our organization is able to continue the work that means so much to those committed to scholarship, research, criticism, and teaching in the field of children’s literature.  This year we raised almost $2500, which will help us advance initiatives that you care about, including student grants, diversity grants, faculty research grants, international sponsorship grants, and the overall work of the organization.

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2020 ChLA Francelia Butler Lecturer - Dr. Althea Tait

Althea Tait ( M.A., The University of Tulsa; Ph.D., Morgan State University)is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at SUNY, the College at Brockport.  Her teaching and research interests revolve around Black Women’s Literature, African American Children’s and YA literature, Black poetry and poetics, Black Women and Girls Studies, and Popular Culture at undergraduate and graduate levels. In the spirit of activism these fields inherently espouse, she has taken her research and scholarship to diverse groups such as incarcerated women concluding their debts to society, to women and children in addiction centers, and to children thriving through studies and the creation of poetry in spaces such as the former Black Wall Street--the location of the Tulsa Race Riots. She has delivered presentations on Black Literature and Culture across the nation ranging from Margaret Walker’s legacy at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi to Toni Morrison’s import to an asset-based approach to understanding Black culture and literature at Harvard University. She has published works focusing on Black poetry, Toni Morrison studies, and the ways black women writers move from their usual focus on adult fiction into the field of African American children’s literature. Her most recent publications include “Empathy: ‘The [Probing] Problem We all Live With’” to be released in The Lion and the Unicorn,and “Sound is the DNA: Teaching Anthems of the Harlem Renaissance and Hip Hop” in the MLA Approaches to Teaching the Harlem Renaissance collection. Recently she co-edited the collection of critical articles and creative scholarship in the forthcoming anthology from the University Press of Mississippi, I Die Daily: Police Brutality, Black Bodies, and the Force of Children’s Literature. She is currently completing a monograph on intergenerational longing and resilience in Black culture and literature. Her narrative approach to scholarship reflects her passion for sound and catching sound in song or playing her acoustic guitar with what has been described as the soul of a piece: “three chords and the truth.”

Giving Tuesday 2019

In 2018 ChLA raised over $2,400 on Giving Tuesday. These donations help to support diversity initiatives, international initiatives, graduate students, and research. The generosity of our supporters does make a difference!

Visit the our website for more information regarding Giving Tuesday.