CFP – The Picturebook as an Art Object

Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, Reinberger Children’s Library Center and the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art present the Inaugural Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium
July 24-26, 2016
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Keynote: Will Hillenbrand, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator
(Additional keynote speakers to be announced)

“The Picturebook as an Art Object”: Honoring the life and work of Dr. Kenneth L. Marantz

According to Dr. Kenneth L. Marantz, professor of art education at the Ohio State University from 1971 to 1991, picturebooks (spelled as one word by Dr. Marantz) are “such rich repositories of visual art, so readily available compared with the resources housed in galleries and museums, that I believe we must take the fullest advantage of them.”

For many young children, picturebooks represent their first exposure to culture — to art, and to literature — in one perfect package. For older children, picturebooks are a useful tool for addressing controversial or difficult subject matter. For all, the aesthetic relationship with picturebooks can create life-long connections.

Dr. Kenneth L. Marantz and his wife, Sylvia Marantz, have graciously funded a biannual scholarly picturebook research symposium to be organized and hosted by the Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science. In this Inaugural Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium, to be held July 24-26, 2016, we honor Ken Marantz’s lifelong dedication to the art of the picturebook.

This call for proposals seeks original, interdisciplinary research in areas related to picturebooks, especially centered on Dr. Marantz’s concept of the picturebook as an art object.

Confirmed Keynote
Children’s book author and illustrator Will Hillenbrand will deliver a keynote address. Hillenbrand, who studied under Ken Marantz, received the 2012 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor award for his illustrations in Bear in Love. Other accolades include a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators; Notable Book Award from the American Library Association for the first picture book he illustrated, Traveling to Tondo; and Children’s Choice Awards from the International Reading Association for Sam Sunday and the Mystery at the Ocean Beach Hotel and The House That Drac Built. (Additional keynote speakers will be confirmed shortly.)

Presentation Formats
The Committee especially encourages presentations and research in the following formats:

  1. Twenty-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion
  2. Panel submissions comprised of three 20-minute presentations followed by 20 minutes of discussion (or four 15-minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of discussion)
  3. Posters

Submissions must be submitted on the appropriate form ( Submissions must include the following in order to be considered:

  • Title and three to five keywords
  • Description of type of proposal you are submitting (poster/paper/panel)
  • Names and contact information of all contributors
  • An abstract of no more than 350 words of your proposed poster or presentation.
  • In the case of a panel submission, one abstract should be submitted to summarize the panel presentations.
  • Information about any special equipment requirements (beyond a laptop and projector, which will be provided)

Prospective participants should submit abstracts that report on recent research and scholarship. Contributions to this call for papers may not have been previously published, and all research methodologies from all disciplines are welcomed. Students are encouraged to participate. Once selected, presenters are responsible for their own expenses related to the conference, including but not limited to registration fees, lodging, transportation and meals.

Link to proposal form:

Possible Topics
Some possible topics, as related to the conference theme, include (but are not limited to):

  • Picturebooks and aesthetics
  • “Reading” picturebooks: The influence of art and text on early literacy
  • Picturebooks, aesthetics, and the imagination
  • Playing with picturebooks
  • Cultural constructions of picturebooks
  • Picturebooks and digital formats
  • Reaching diverse readers via picturebooks
  • Historical perspectives on picturebooks

Nov. 1, 2015: Deadline to submit abstracts
Dec. 1, 2015: Notification of acceptance

There will not be proceedings for this conference; however, selected papers may be included in a special issue of a journal or an edited collection. Details will be provided as they become available.

If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact Dr. Marianne Martens ( or Michelle Baldini (

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