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Here’s the reading list for my Global Search for Justice 3990 Social Justice and Children’s Literature course, which I am teaching for the third time for St. Catherine University’s undergraduate CORE Curriculum.

  1. Bryan, Ashley.  Freedom Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
  2. Budhos, Marina. Watched
  3. Butler, Octavia E. Kindred (graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings)
  4. Campbell Bartoletti, Susan. They Called Themselves the KKK
  5. Cohn, Diana. Illustrated by Francisco Delgado. ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes We Can! Janitor Strike in LA
  6. Dauviller, Loïc. Art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo. Hidden
  7. Diaz, Alexandra. The Only Road
  8. Diggs, Taye. Illustrated by Shane Evans. Mixed Me!
  9. Harris, Duchess and Sue Bradford Edwards. Black Lives Matter: Special Reports
  10. Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
  11. Howell, Patricia Hruby. Illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
  12. Jordan-Fenton, Christy and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. When I was Eight
  13. José Older, Daniel. Shadowshaper
  14. Jung, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object
  15. Khan, Hena. Amina’s Voice
  16. Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out and Back Again
  17. Lewis, John. March trilogy (3 graphic novels)
  18. Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch
  19. Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko
  20. Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola. Eighth-Grade Superzero
  21. Saenz, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
  22. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis
  23. Tate, Don. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
  24. Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give
  25. Weatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
  26. Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer
  27. Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese
  28. Yogi, Stan and Laura Atkins. Illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
  29. Yousafzai, Malala. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education & Changed the World Young Readers Edition
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CALL FOR PAPERS

Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Diversity, and Difference in the Wizarding Worlds

Edited by Sarah Park Dahlen and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Scholars in various disciplines have discussed how race and difference are depicted in the Harry Potter series. Existing studies include the relationship between religion and Harry Potter, interracial relationships, J.K. Rowling’s social justice agenda, and how young people growing up in the Wizarding Age experience and interpret the series. However, there has yet to be an anthology that specifically interrogates representations of race and difference across all Harry Potter media. Given that Rowling continues to expand and reveal more details about the wizarding world, both at Hogwarts and elsewhere, some fans and scholars are conflicted and concerned about how the original Wizarding World – quintessentially White and British – manifests in other worlds, worlds with which Rowling may be less familiar.

We seek for possible inclusion critical essays about how race is depicted in Harry Potter in all of its manifestations – print texts, movies, fanworks, amusement parks, and so on. We wish to include essays from multiple perspectives (English, education, library science, media and communication studies, childhood studies, etc.) and from scholars around the globe. Essays may include topics such as:

  • “Mudblood” and “pureblood” – racial analogies in the series
  • How different media (print, movies, theatre, audio books, etc.) construct race
  • Whiteness and normativity
  • Resistance to bigotry and fascism
  • Racebending
  • Anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, and Orientalism
  • Relationshipping
  • Trope of the monster
  • Alterity; intersectionality; nationalism
  • Fanworks (fanfiction, fanart, etc.) and fandom participation (cosplay, conference attendance, etc.)
  • Reader response to race-related aspects of Harry Potter (also, viewer response, etc.)
  • Merchandising and the commodification of the Wizarding World
  • Presences and absences

350-500 word chapter proposals are due by December 1, 2016. Proposals should be for original essays that have not been published previously (including in conference proceedings) and that are not currently under consideration for another edited collection or journal. Send your proposal and CV to both Sarah Dahlen and Ebony Thomas.

Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, Assistant Professor in the Master of Library and Information Science Program, St. Catherine University (spark@stkate.edu)

Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania (ebonyt@gse.upenn.edu)

CFP PDF: Harry Potter Race CFP

LIS 7210 Library Materials for Children
Instructor Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen
2015 Fall
St. Catherine University
Master of Library and Information Science Program

Course Description

Selection, evaluation and use of media for children in elementary schools and public libraries. Materials in curricular areas are studied along with an examination of the relationships of materials to developmental characteristics and individual differences of the child, to curriculum and recreation, to the exceptional child and to a multicultural society. 3 cr.

Reading/Viewing List

  1. Alarcón, Francisco X. Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno
  2. Alexander, Kwame. Crossover
  3. Bascomb, Neal. Nazi Hunters
  4. Bell, CeCe. El Deafo
  5. Burnett, Francis Hodgson. The Secret Garden
  6. Chainani, Soman. The School for Good and Evil #1
  7. Coy, John. Hoop Genius
  8. Dr. Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham
  9. Elliott, Zetta. The Phoenix on Barkley Street
  10. Engle, Margarita. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom
  11. Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House
  12. Evans, Shane. Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom
  13. Ewert, Marcus. 10,000 Dresses
  14. Harris, Robie. It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
  15. Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
  16. Jung, Mike. Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities
  17. Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet: The Stonekeeper
  18. LaRochelle, David. Moo
  19. Levy, Dana Alison. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
  20. Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking
  21. Lovelace, Maud Hart. Betsy-Tacy (book 1)
  22. Morales, Yuyi. Viva Frida
  23. Oppenheim, Joanne. Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference
  24. Richardson, Justin. And Tango Makes Three
  25. Rowling, J.K.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  26. Russell, Rachel Renée. Dork Diaries 1: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life
  27. Santat, Dan. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
  28. Selznick, Brian. The Marvels
  29. Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are
  30. Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Jingle Dancer 
  31. Sweet, Melissa. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. UMN CLRC online exhibit: http://gallery.lib.umn.edu/exhibits/show/balloons-over-broadway
  32. Telgemeier, Raina. Smile
  33. Tingle, Tim. How I Became a Ghost
  34. Ursu, Anne. The Real Boy
  35. Van Wagenen, Maya. Popular: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence
  36. White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web
  37. Willems, Mo. Any picture book (Elephant and Piggy, Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, etc.)
  38. Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer
  39. Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming
  40. Yang, Gene Luen. Secret Coders
  41. Minecraft (TBD)
  42. Read and bring to class any book(s) in the American Girl series
  43. Read, watch, or listen to any version of Wizard of Oz. Bring your version to class, if possible, and be prepared to discuss.
  44. The Lego Movie
  45. Perrault, Charles. “Little Red Riding Hood” > http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0333.html
  46. Find, read, and bring to class  at least one version of Little Red Riding Hood for children.

Required Textbooks

  1. Keywords for Children’s Literature edited by Philip Nel and Lissa Paul.
  2. Picture This! How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

Readings and Assignments for the First Two Weeks of Class

Week 1 | Sept 15 | Introduction & Publishing

Readings

  • Keywords. 3 Audience; 8 Childhood; 9 Children’s Literature; 13 Culture; 30 Literacy; 36 Picture Book; 42 Reading; 45 Story
  • Bang, Molly. Picture This! How Pictures Work (all)

Novels

  • White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web

Picture Books

Assignments Due

  • Bring in one your favorite picture books and children’s novels from your childhood (two books total). Be prepared to talk about why the books meant something to you and why you still remember them years later.  Pick books that are not on the syllabus.

Week 2 | Sept 22 | Publishing & Classics

Readings

Novels

  • Burnett, Francis Hodgson. The Secret Garden
  • Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking

Picture Books

  • Elliott, Zetta. The Phoenix on Barkley Street

(NOTE: The syllabus is heavy on black children’s and YA literature because I revised the course in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and so we could use the concepts learned and discussed through those texts as examples for discussions of related issues in youth lit and social justice. I am fully aware that my reading list is not representative of all social justice issues, but what I hope is that by discussing a narrow segment, my students and I can learn to think broadly in terms of ideology, positionality, authorship, power, privilege, etc as they relate to about social justice and children’s literature.)

LIS 7190 Social Justice and Children’s/YA Literature
Instructor Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen
2015 Summer
St. Catherine University
Master of Library and Information Science Program

Course Description

In this course, students will learn how to select, evaluate and analyze depictions and aspects of social justice and injustice in children’s and young adult literature. We will consider topics such as power, racism, diversity, violence, perspective, publishing trends, authorship, illustrations, and ideology. We will also consider how these texts may be used in library programming. 

By successfully finishing this course, students will be able to select, evaluate, and recommend a variety of materials depicting social justice issues for young audiences.

Required Readings (assigned by me)

  • A Wreath for Emmitt Till by Marilyn Nelson
  • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  • A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott
  • Bridge by Patrick Jones
  • Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
  • Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Works of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth
  • Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • The Real Boy by Anne Ursu 
  • El Deafo by CeCe Bell
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson 
  • Call me Tree/Llámame árbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez
  • Star of the Week by Darlene Friedman
  • The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Additional Required Readings (assigned by students – the Unsyllabus portion)

  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
  • The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
  • Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth
  • Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Assignments

  • Text presentation
  • Book talk and flyer
  • Unsyllabus presentation
  • Book discussion group
  • Reflection paper

First Week’s Readings 

WEEK 1 | June 2 Tuesday | #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Readings

  • Larrick, Nancy. (1965). “The All White World of Children’s Literature.” Saturday Review, 63-65. 
  • Horning, Kathleen T. (2014 May 1). “Children’s Books: Still an All-White World?” School Library Journal.
  • Derman-Sparks, Louise. (2013) “An Updated Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books.” Teaching for Change.
  • Diversity in Youth Literature. Editors’ Introduction “Open Books, Open Doors: Cultural Diversity On and Off the Page” (Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Sarah Park Dahlen)
  • Diversity in Youth Literature. Chapter 1 “Voices of Experience: Promoting Acceptance of Other Cultures” (Carol Doll and Kasey Garrison)
  • Diversity in Youth Literature. Chapter 2 “Opening Doors to Understanding: Developing Cultural Competence through Youth Literature” (Eliza Dresang) 

Youth Literature

  • A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

WEEK 1 | June 4 Thursday | Occupy Children’s Literature

Readings

Youth Literature

  • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

On Friday, January 30, 2015, I participated in ALSC’s Day of Diversity: Dialogue and Action in Children’s Literature and Programming (in collaboration with CBC Diversity). The goal was to “bring together leaders in children’s literature and literacy to discuss strategies for ensuring that all children have access to diverse literature and library programming.” It was an honor to be included among the 70 or so folks who have been working toward equity in children’s literature for years, and in many cases, decades. Also included during the day were 30 librarians who had applied to participate. Some of us were invited to present, some to moderate, some to facilitate, and some to attend. I was invited to facilitate one of the first breakout sessions – our task was to strategize on how to increase diversity in print and digital materials. My co-facilitators were Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this March), and Wade Hudson, author, president and CEO of Just Us Books (the only publisher publishing Black-interest children’s books). I’m thankful to have been among so many smart and talented and hard working people.

Several friends have eloquently summarized and reflected on the event (Zetta Elliott, Debbie Reese, and Edi Campbell), so this is going to be more of a brief reflection than a summary. I think the general consensus was that it was wonderful to finally all be in the same room together, it was a great start, and we want to see how things will go from here. It was pretty evident that the first half of the day – what some of us called Square 1 or Diversity 101 – was more for the benefit of those who haven’t already been talking about these problems. The breakout sessions were opportunities to really start talking, but even then sometimes they turned into opportunities for self-promotion rather than strategizing for action. Cutting people off is hard. Still, I think we got some solid ideas at the breakout sessions, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be putting them into practice and effecting real change. Here are some of the ideas from my break-out session, in the order they were discussed:

  • book fairs at non-library and non-bookstore spaces (such as community centers, churches, sororities, etc)
  • send authors and illustrators into those unconventional spaces
  • target advertisements to specific communities (do research on where specific communities tend to get their news, whether TV, radio, internet, etc)
  • publishers should provide more resources on how to use particular books in the classroom and library
  • look for, speak up about, and debunk myths in the media
  • partner with Young Readers Center in Library of Congress
  • bookstores and libraries can organize out-of-the-box events, such as cooking classes and summer camps (check out La Casa Azul Bookstore)
  • empower local communities to partner more closely with libraries
  • push for books that move beyond what Rudine Sims Bishop would label as a “social conscience book” and more toward books that depict the multidimensional aspects of experiences
  • change curriculum in K-12 and higher ed (teacher education, LIS education, etc)
  • Common Core reform
  • build community esteem
  • speak up about white-centered book covers

I found the lightning talks to be quite moving, particularly when Namrata Tripathi talked about the assumptions people make about her name and background (I LOVED how she ended her talk – “Instead of saying goodbye, I’m saying hello, my name is Namrata Tripathi, and I’m very pleased to meet you.”) When author Ellen Oh started talking about her Korean American family and history, I nearly died. I tweeted:

One reason why writes is for her Korean Am daughters. Bc she writes, my KA daughter has more to read. Thank you

But the one thing that many of us talked about during and after was the absence of particular conversations. We didn’t really talk about power or oppression or dominance or privilege in explicit terms. There was a politeness that was encouraged and for the most part, observed. As the saying goes, “Well behaved women seldom make history” (Ulrich). I’m not saying we should have been rude and out of place, but, invoking another saying, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will” (Douglass). Because the conference program was so carefully crafted, there wasn’t really an opportunity to demand that we talk about power and oppression and dominance and privilege. Sure, there were moments – Violet Harris pointed out that we’ve been having this conversation not for just a year or a few years but for decades; Pat Mora pointed out that the system needs to change; Camila Alire pointed out that the publishing numbers are getting worse… But it wasn’t until the very end, when Satia Orange exhorted us to DO SOMETHING because #BlackLivesMatter. I’m paraphrasing here, but she basically said that the system is not interested in letting diverse voices speak. They want to shut us down because they’re afraid of how things will go down when we’re numerically the majority in 2050. They want to keep us illiterate, voiceless, and powerless, and keeping our stories out of circulation is one way to do that.

You could hear a pin drop.

I wish we had started and ended with something like what Satia said. It was powerful and would have provided the right energy. That said, it was a terrific way to end the conference, and I, for one, walked away feeling even more affirmed that our work matters. Only time will tell what kinds of changes we’ll see in the future.

I tweeted most of these photos, but I’m posting them again anyway! Here we are, just before getting started…

IMG_2007

The same cover, below, was used in Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo‘s white paper, The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children (ALSC, 2014).

IMG_2008

Notice the negatives… the number of diverse children’s books by and about particular populations has actually gone DOWN. Never mind that the CCBC does not evaluate the quality of these books. As Debbie Reese has often pointed out, it’s not enough to have 64 books about American Indians if many of them are horrible books.

IMG_2011

Author/illustrator Gene Luen Yang talked about how these (and many other) graphic novels bust certain myths about non-white people as heroes. Side note: I read The Color of Earth/Water/Heaven trilogy right after giving birth to my daughter, and it was amazing.

IMG_2015

The Diversity Gap infographic created by Lee & Low (part of the “Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased in 19 Years” blog post from 2013) that so clearly lays out the fact that the number of diverse books has not changed in the past 20 years. Absolutely unacceptable.

IMG_2012

Loved this – a cheat sheet on how to promote diverse books without making your sell about the characters’ race. For example, instead of “This is a book about a Native kid living on a reservation,” say “Can’t get enough of the Beatles? Neither can the author or the kid at the heart of this story. Friendship and rock n’ roll” for Eric Gansworth’s awesome novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here.

IMG_2019

Pat Mora (founder of El día de los niños/El día de los libros – Children’s Day/Book Day) finally just laid it out – we need a diverse publishing system at all levels. It’s not enough to have diverse books written by diverse authors – they need to be edited by diverse editors (hurray to Namrata Tripathi for embracing her role!), marketed and promoted by diverse marketing and promoting departments (Remember the time I received a letter from an editor promoting a novel as “foreign” and “exotic”? Yeah, I’d like to forget that happened…), reviewed by diverse reviewers, awarded by diverse award committees, etc. The system has to change at every level.

IMG_2020

After the conference, we enjoyed a reception at the Harold Washington Library, where Lesléa convinced us all to try a Twix bar that wasn’t a Twix bar and tasted a million times better than a Twix bar.

IMG_2033

Sandwiched between Debbie Reese and Cynthia Leitich Smith (who is, I believe, one of the most animated and hilarious people I’ve ever met!!) at the We Need Diverse Books dinner. What else is there to say? It was an epic way to end the day.

IMG_2035

It’s not a trip to Chicago unless you take your favorite friends to your favorite french toast restaurant. Closed out the weekend with author Zetta Elliott and author/illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez – two crazy awesome award winning women whose books and other writings we should all read. For example, I always assign Zetta’s “Something like an open letter to the children’s publishing industry” alongside Laura Atkins’ “White Privilege and Children’s Publishing: A Web 2.0 Case Study.

IMG_2038

This is not The End. This is also not The Beginning. It’s a point along the continuum – it’s quite possibly a tipping point that, and as the We Need Diverse Books campaign has pointed out, “Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored.

The industry – indeed, the world – can’t ignore the fact that the number of multicultural books has not increased in the past 20 years. It can’t ignore the fact that our society continues to diversify. It can’t ignore that publishing does not. It can’t ignore the fact that there are very talented authors and illustrators who make wonderful and amazing children’s books. It can’t ignore the fact that a lack of diverse books hurts ALL children. It can’t ignore the fact that we need to have these conversations, that we need to address these issues and talk them out and DO SOMETHING to CHANGE the system. And we can’t do it alone. Debbie Reese pointed out that she can’t fight racism re: Native Americans in children’s literature alone. None of us can do the work alone. We all have a stake, and we should all work to dismantle racism and promote equity in children’s literature.

Many of us – including those not mentioned here – are already at work, and now, more than ever, we need to STEP IT UP. Won’t you join us?

— Update 2015 February 3 —

Check out the following resources on ACTIONS we can take to increase diversity in children’s books and get diverse books into the hands of all readers:

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