CFP – Childhoods of Color

Childhoods of Color
an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture
University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 13-14, 2019

Keynote lecture by Prof. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, University of Pennsylvania

The Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture ( is pleased to issue this call for paper and panel submissions to our 2019 conference, “Childhoods of Color,” exploring the various ways children of color interact with and are represented in print and digital media.

Approximately half of school-aged children in the United States today are not white.[1] This fact is not reflected by representations of children in print and digital culture. UW-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Books Center (which has tracked data on race and children’s book publishing since 1985) shows that African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American characters have been continually unrepresented in the children’s literature industry.[2] Children’s Literature scholar Philip Nel shows a similar trend in visual representations of characters of color, in the example of young adult fantasy and science fiction novels whose covers illustrations whitewash nonwhite characters, replacing them with white or ambiguously-raced figures.[3] While replacing an earlier trend of racist representations of people of color in children’s books, this sort of whitewashing amounts to a more insidious form of literary segregation. Similarly, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop’s report on Diverse Families and Media argues that “educational media are not being designed and vetted with all families in mind.”[4] Employing principals similar to those of the Children’s Television Workshop’s founders, the report traces research on families’ media use to make suggestions as to how media designers might better serve families of color, low-income families, and language-minority families.

Responding to the need to shift media paradigms, recent academic and activist work has attempted to counter past exclusions and erasures by prioritizing childhoods of color. Academic articles, monographs, and presentations work in tandem with popular campaigns such as We Need Diverse Books and Raising Race Conscious Children, creating truly interdisciplinary and inherently political work.[5]

Our conference seeks traditional panel and roundtable proposals and welcomes non-traditional presentation forms on themes and topics related to “Childhoods of Color” as they intersect with print and digital cultures. Topics might include (though are, of course, not limited to) any of the following:

  • Children’s literature
  • Visual culture
  • Digital culture
  • Media studies
  • Education and pedagogy
  • Literacy education
  • Reading interests
  • Language/bilingualism
  • The achievement gap
  • Migrant, refugee & immigrant children
  • Children’s activism & child activists
  • Education and politics
  • Youth and intersectionality
  • Sexuality and sexual identity
  • Childhood health and wellness
  • Toys and commercialism
  • Imaginative play
  • Childhood and popular culture

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Thomas has published extensively on children’s literature (particularly African-American children’s literature), the teaching of literature, history, and culture, and the roles of race, class, and gender in in K-12 classrooms. Thomas describes children’s and young adult literature as media through which “children and teenagers first form critical consciousness around issues of race, racial difference, diversity, and equality.”[6]

Compiled panels and individual panel submissions should be submitted to and are due by Monday, October 15, 2018. (Notices regarding conference acceptance will be sent by the end of December.) Individual paper proposals should be no more than 250 words each and should be accompanied by a one-page CV. Complete panel and roundtable proposals should include brief descriptions of each individual presentation as well as a 100-word overview of the panel. Complete panel and roundtable proposals should include one-page CVs for each presenter. Feel free to contact conference organization committee chair Dr. Brigitte Fielder with any questions, at

CFP – Diana Wynne Jones in 2019

Call for Papers: Diana Wynne Jones in 2019
Conference Dates: (9) 10 and 11 August 2019
Location: Watershed, Bristol, UK

Call for Papers and Other Presentations on the work of Diana Wynne Jones, on her influence and influences

Titles and abstracts are requested for papers, posters and other presentations (be imaginative! we would be interested in a game based on one of the books, a workshop to learn to sing Angel of Caprona! You are not restricted to academic papers.) We welcome discussions of fan activity and scholarship, TV and film adaptations as well as the books.

Descriptions are requested for workshop activities (which could include gaming sessions, an art class, collective singing of the Angel of Caprona, or anything else you can think of).

Please submit abstracts here by September 1, 2018.

All papers will be collected into a conference ebook for attendees at the conference. These will be the papers as delivered (with some editing) and will not compromise any decision to publish longer and more substantive versions elsewhere.

CFP – The Legacy of Watership Down: Animals, Adaptation, Animation

The Legacy of Watership Down: Animals, Adaptation, Animation
An interdisciplinary symposium
University of Warwick
10 November 2018
Organised by Dr Catherine Lester

Keynote speaker: Dr Chris Pallant (Canterbury Christ Church University)

2018 marks 40 years since the release of Watership Down, Martin Rosen’s acclaimed 1978 animated film. Adapted from Richard Adams’ 1972 children’s novel, it tells the tale of a group of anthropomorphised rabbits who flee the imminent destruction of their warren in search of a safe haven. In recognition of the film’s 40th anniversary, this one-day symposium seeks to foster academic discourse on this landmark of British animation from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

A beautifully realised piece of animation, the film has inspired filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, Wes Anderson, and Zack Snyder. Yet the film is best remembered for its legendary status as an emotionally traumatic viewing experience, especially for children. This is in part due to Art Garfunkel’s tearjerker “Bright Eyes,” a hit single written for the film. Watership Down is also known for its graphic violence which seems directly at odds with its BBFC “U” certificate (indicating that is suitable for all ages) and its subject matter of anthropomorphised rabbits. Thanks to this ambiguous status as a “children’s film,” Watership Down consistently remains the subject of public debate, as epitomised by public outrage in the UK over Channel 5’s decision to broadcast the film on the afternoon of Easter Sunday two years running. Conversely, the film has recently been raised in favourable comparison to the live-action/CG hybrid Peter Rabbit (2018), spurring questions surrounding the role of violence and matters of taste in children’s media. In addition, Watership Down bears timely socio-political relevance: it demonstrates the dangers of human impact upon the environment and the need to overcome totalitarian authority, as represented in the film by the fascistic villain General Woundwort. In an uncertain political climate that includes the rise of neo-Nazism, it seems more appropriate than ever to ask what audiences of adults and children alike can still learn from this landmark of British animation.

In light of the film’s continued relevance, this symposium seeks to explore Watership Down’s ongoing cultural legacy and impact, 40 years since its first release. This may be in relation to the above themes, but this event also intends to broaden the dialogue beyond these headline-grabbing topics and draw attention to more overlooked aspects of the film’s form, aesthetics, and place in British cinema and animation history. Further possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Adaptation (including the film’s relationship with other adaptations of the novel)
  • Music and sound
  • Stardom and voice performance
  • Genre and generic hybridity (e.g. horror, fantasy, the epic, animal stories, children’s cinema)
  • Animal studies (especially representations of rabbits in popular/visual culture)
  • The relationship between animals, animation and children’s media
  • Representations of nature/the countryside
  • Eco-critical perspectives
  • Allegory
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Audience and memory studies
  • Fan studies
  • Meme studies
  • Folklore
  • Mortality and morality
  • Broadcast, classification, and censorship
  • The work of Martin Rosen (i.e. Plague Dogs)
  • Influences upon Watership Down and its influence upon subsequent media

It is the intention that selected papers from the conference will be published in the form of an edited book collection.

Please send 300-word abstracts (for 20-minute papers) with a short author biography to Dr Catherine Lester ( by Saturday, 30 June 2018.

Astrid Lindgren Foundation 2018 Research Grant

Astrid Lindgren Foundation Research Grant “Solkatten”

Astrid Lindgren Foundation “Solkatten” was established in 1986. One of its aims is to “contribute to the teaching and further education of individuals who are involved in research on children’s culture and are capable of conveying the results of their research to a larger audience.”

For this purpose the Board of Directors has established a grant intended to give researchers – “primarily from abroad” – the opportunity “to pursue research on Swedish or Nordic literature for children and young adults.” Amounting to SEK 50,000 in 2018, this grant should cover costs for a research period at the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books in Stockholm, which has a research library with a large collection of theoretical literature on children’s literature (appr. 20 000 items). The Institute will provide study space and reference services and will also arrange for professional contacts with colleagues at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University.

The Board of Directors hereby invite Professors and Research leaders at academic departments to submit nominations for eligible candidates before August 20, 2018. The recipient will be expected to make use of the grant before June 13, 2019.

The nomination should not extend two pages of text and should, besides personalia in the form of name, address etc., contain information on the candidate as to:

  • academic education, other relevant qualifications and main research interests,
  • previous research achievements (a separate bibliographical account of academic material and publications should be enclosed but books and other printed material should be submitted only at the request of the jury),
  • language proficiencies (knowledge of one Scandinavian language is a strong merit),
  • the aim of the research period in Stockholm,
  • the approximate time preferred for the utilization of the grant.

Please send the nomination by e-mail to:

The Jury includes representatives of the Foundation, the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, and the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University. The appointment will be made known before September 20, 2018.

CFP – Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King

CFP: Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the twentieth century’s most prolific and well-known American authors. King’s work brought modern horror and the supernatural to mainstream audiences in 1974 with the publication of his first novel, Carrie, a coming-of-age story about a bullied and lonely girl who discovers she has a real and deadly power. One of the defining features of Stephen King’s oeuvre is his use of children and childhood in his novels and short stories. A King childhood is often framed within the horrors of the adult world–the dangers of uninhibited technology, abusive parents, the supernatural, or other strange or frightening circumstances–or the horrors of childhood itself. In a King narrative, children are often left unprotected and vulnerable while facing unimaginable threats. King’s use of child characters within the framework of horror (or of horrific childhood) raises questions about adult expectations of children, childhood, the nature of innocence, the American family, child agency, and the nature of fear and terror for (or by) children. Childhood in King’s work is often (but not always) set within the mythos of small town America and the idealized spaces that have become emblematic of a pastoral or “proper” Western childhood. Such myths are then challenged or shattered by events that question notions of innocence, purity, reality, and American exceptionalism. This collection’s goal is to offer a critical look at childhood throughout Stephen King’s works, from his early novels, short stories, through film or TV adaptations, to his most recent publications. The ways in which King complicates, challenges, or terrorizes children and notions of childhood provide a unique lens through which to view historically, philosophically, or theoretically American cultural, familial, and adult anxieties about children and childhood, particularly as King’s work spans decades of American culture.

Submissions are welcomed examine children and childhood from a variety of perspectives in the works of Stephen King, including his novels, novellas, short stories, and films or television adaptations. Submissions are welcome from a variety of disciplines, and from multiple theoretical, or philosophical perspectives. International submissions are also welcome. Some suggested topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Misfit children
  • Child as monstrous
  • Lost children
  • Child victim/Child as victimizer
  • Bullying and bullies
  • Isolated/isolating children
  • Childhood culture (among children)
  • Childhood anxieties
  • Fear and/in/of children
  • Children and the supernatural
  • Child hero/anti-hero
  • Child savior
  • Parenting/parenthood
  • Death and the Child
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Child agency
  • Cruelty to or by children
  • The American family and the child
  • The child and authority (school, government, i.e. The Shop)
  • Play (dangerous and otherwise)
  • Sexuality
  • Pedophilia
  • Freaks and the nature of Freakishness
  • Sacrificial children
  • Nostalgia and horror
  • Nature of reality for children

Interested contributors please send a 300-400 word abstract, full contact information, and a brief biography (30-50 words) to Dr. Debbie Olson at by July 1, 2018. Full essays will be due by April 1, 2019. Full essays will be in Chicago notes/bibliography style.

CFP – Barnboken Special Issues on Money and Ulf Stark

Barnboken – Journal of Children’s Literature Research

Theme: Money
Money, or rather the lack thereof, is a frequently addressed topic in children’s and young adult literature. Moreover, economic factors play an important role when it comes to publishing and producing children’s and young adult literature, which suggests that money also controls and influences children’s and YA books as aesthetic objects. For this reason, Barnboken – Journal of Children’s Literature Research welcomes articles on the topic of “Money” in a broad sense. The aim is to highlight how primarily Nordic children’s and young adult literature has been influenced by issues related to money. How is children’s and young adults’ relationship to money portrayed in literature for young readers? Is making money and becoming self-sufficient central questions in stories of growth and maturity? And what economic factors influence publishing today? For instance, would the Nordic picturebook have become what it is today without the help of a growing middle class with money to spend? Deadline, abstracts: 10 September 2018. Please send a 300 word abstract to Guest editor of this theme is Dr. Lydia Wistisen, Stockholm University.

For more information, please see Call for papers.

Theme: Ulf Stark
Ulf Stark (1944-2017) was one of Sweden’s most prominent writers of children’s and young adult literature. His works include modern classics such as Dårfinkar och dönickar (Fruitloops & Dipsticks, 1984) and the trilogy about the two friends Ulf and Percy beginning with Min vän Percys magiska gymnastikskor (My Friend Percy’s Magical Gym Shoes, 1991). In addition, he worked as a cultural writer and critic and as a screenwriter, adapting not only his own books but also the works of others for the screen. Despite Ulf Stark’s long career in writing and debating children’s and young adult literature, there is surprisingly little research on his authorship. Therefore, Barnboken wishes to encourage research on Ulf Stark’s works, in particular on his lesser known works. Possible topics for articles include ideology and views on literature, language-play and poetry, historical fiction, spirituality and religious aspects, humour as a narrative strategy, father figures, translations, autofiction and perspectives on autobiographical writing. Deadline, abstracts: 17 September 2018. Please send a 300 word abstract to

For more information, please see Call for papers.

Barnboken – Journal of Children’s Literature Research is published by the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books. All articles accepted have been peer reviewed by at least two peers and will be published online under an Open Access model. The main language of the journal is Swedish, but articles written in Danish, Norwegian, and English are also welcome. We are especially interested in contributions related to Sweden and the Nordic countries.

CFP – Child and the Book Conference: Beyond the Canon (of Children’s Literature)

The 14th International Child and the Book Conference (CBC2019): Beyond the Canon (of Children’s Literature)
8 – 10 May 2019
Zadar, Croatia

The International Conference The Child and the Book, launched in London in 2004, has since taken place in different countries (Belgium, UK, Turkey, USA, Canada, Norway, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Poland, and Spain). It gathers scholars and students focusing on children’s and young adult literature, who exchange experiences, insights and knowledge in this interdisciplinary field. The Croatian Association of Researchers in Children’s Literature (CARCL) and the University of Zadar are organising the 14th Conference edition in May 2019.

The main topic of the Conference raises questions following recent research on the canon of children’s literature, focusing on exclusion from the canon, i.e. on literature and related phenomena and forms of expression which remain beyond the canon. Canonical works are generally considered to be of high value and vital for different spheres of human existence, both at the personal and at the social level. Simultaneously, literary and related systems which develop beyond the canon often prepare new beginnings which eventually influence the canon. Popular literature and children’s literature are examples of literary systems that enable the exploration of new areas and extend beyond their own boundaries, often creating new meanings and exploring innovative modes of expression. Thus, we also wish to encourage thinking about the position of children’s literature with regard to the literary canon in general and bring the attention of scholars and students to the frequent devaluation of the artistic quality of children’s literature as a whole, and to ascribing to it utterly utilitarian attributes. Such views place children’s literature beyond the mainstream canon, both national and international. We are particularly interested in the borderline position of children’s literature, picturebooks, young adult literature, and related systems, which enrich the world of children’s culture and balance on the fine line between recognition and dispute. Accordingly, we also encourage participants to concentrate on works written for children placed beyond the canon of children’s literature, for different reasons, and on how they may cross an imaginary borderline between acceptance and rejection in either direction. We hope to pinpoint, understand, and clarify different factors that have an impact on these processes and explore how they may be viewed in a diachronic perspective.

Taking these issues as starting points, the Conference will focus on the following general topics:

  1. Children’s literature and the literary canon
  2. Forming the canon of children’s literature: contexts and influences
  3. Inside and outside the canon: reasons for inclusion/exclusion and forgotten titles
  4. The canon of children’s literature vs. the canon of young adult literature
  5. Translation and publishing practices in relation to the canon(s) of children’s and young adult literature
  6. The international canon and the perception of own and other cultures in the national canons of children’s literature
  7. Canonical illustrations and the (re-)interpretations of children’s classics
  8. Reading practices and the canon of children’s literature
  9. Adaptations of the canonical titles of children’s and young adult literature
  10. The canon of children’s culture: literature, arts, multimodality, new media

The official languages of the Conference are English and Croatian.

A second Call for Papers inviting the submission of abstracts and registration, and including additional information about the Conference, will be issued in September 2018.

News and detailed information about the Conference will be published on the Conference website ( and on the official website of the Croatian Association of Researchers in Children’s Literature: Should you have any further inquiries or require additional information, please contact us at the following email addresses:;;

Two Postdoctoral Positions at Newcastle University

The School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics is seeking to appoint two postdoctoral Research Associates, each lasting two years (if full-time). The successful candidates will work on projects funded by Newcastle University’s Research Excellence Academy and Research Investment Fund.

Research Associate in Children’s Literature (REA) – B131592R –

This post will be attached to the project “New Stories of Modern British Children’s Literature: the Chambers Collection,” and will map research pathways into the Aidan and Nancy Chambers archival material newly acquired by Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books ( Applicants for this post should supply an academic CV and a cover letter in addition to completing the electronic application form.

Research Associate in Children’s Literature (RIF) – B131593R –

This post will support research aligned with one of these three broad themes:

  1. Developing collections, archives and exhibitions of children’s books, with a particular focus on how we tell national stories of children’s literature.
  2. Children/young people and heritage.
  3. Diversity and inclusion in histories of children’s literature.

Details of how to apply for this post are given in full in the online ad.

Successful candidates will be based in the Children’s Literature Unit, within the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, and will be joining a large and successful team of academics, doctoral students, and other postdoctoral researchers.

Applicants should have been awarded a doctoral degree in children’s literature, children’s culture, 20th-century publishing or a related area (or be in expectation that the award will be made by 31 October 2018), and should be able to demonstrate ongoing research interests that align with one or more of the designated areas.

For informal enquiries relating to these posts, contact Professor Matthew Grenby ( or Dr Lucy Pearson (

CFP – Crafts and Hobbies in Children’s Books

25th Annual NCRCL MA/IBBY UK Conference
Saturday, 10 November 2018
Digby Stuart College, University of Roehampton
Crafts and Hobbies in Children’s Books

This year’s conference explores the significance of crafts and hobbies as theme, practice, motif, educational tool and generational bridge. We will be thinking about the historical shifts in the role and significance of these activities in childhood experience as depicted in a wide range of texts. We will examine the role of crafting and hobbies in children’s fiction and in picture books; think about the role of books in craft and hobby activities (including the handbooks of the Brownies, Scouts and Woodcraft Folk and the annuals of children’s TV shows such as Blue Peter); and consider the craft dimensions of books as material objects, looking at the use of collage and textile as illustrative components, at paper-cutting and pop-up books, and at books that are themselves craft or hobby objects (model-making books, sticker books). Discussion will cover the gendering of crafts and hobbies, the definition of a hobby (as distinct from a game or a toy), the vexed boundaries between arts and crafts, and craft as domestic or artisanal. Materials from the archives of the constituent colleges of the University of Roehampton will be on show, including weaving samples and patterns used in early Froebelian education and embroidery samplers from the Whitelands archive. The conference will include keynote presentations by well-known illustrators and craft practitioners, academics, and key figures in the children’s literature world. We will hear from Dr Jane Carroll of Trinity College, Dublin, an international specialist in the relationship between craft and children’s literature. As this year’s conference marks 25 years of the partnership between IBBY UK and the NCRCL and we are delighted that Professor Kim Reynolds, a long-time friend of both organisations, will be joining us for the celebration.

Proposals are welcomed for individual papers (20 minutes) on different aspects of craft and hobbies in relation to children’s books and reading, such as, but not only:

  • Craft and hobbies as themes in literary texts (for example stitching in Little Women, the sampler in Penelope Lively’s A Stitch in Time)
  • Craft and hobby instruction books for children
  • Craft and hobbies as theme/process in picture books (Faith Ringgold’s use of story quilts to map African American experience)
  • Non-craft hobbies and the books associated with them: train sets (and Thomas books), modelling (and role of kits), collecting, war-gaming (also craft element, eg Warhammer), digital hobbies (Minecraft, coding)
  • Paper-craft books – books that are themselves craft objects/materials
  • Craft/textiles as illustrative form (paper cutting, textiles, collage) (in the work, for instance, of Lauren Child and Mini Grey)
  • Books which feature dolls and toys as craft objects; as things to make and dress; as uncanny (Rumer Godden, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower; The Doll’s House)
  • Puppets and puppetry (issues as above)
  • Specific crafts in children’s books: knitting, sewing (quilting, dress making, toy making), weaving, woodworking, plus briefer crazes: macramé, origami, etc.
  • The gendering of hobbies and craft
  • Crafts and hobbies as effecting intergenerational bonds (grandparents, parents, passing on of skills)
  • Adult adoption of children’s hobbies (adult colouring books, train sets, lego building)
  • Craft as an educational tool
  • The ideology of craft and its historical changes (as an element in girls’ education; as work/not work in nineteenth century (Sarah Stickney Ellis); shifting distinctions between art and crafts, artisanal and domestic craft, hobbies and labour

We welcome contributions from interested academics, authors, illustrators, publishers etc. in any of these areas.

The deadline for proposals is Friday, 29 June 2018. Please email a 200-word abstract (for a 20-minute paper), along with a short biography and affiliation to:

CFP – Special Issue of Oxford Literary Review: Deconstruction and the Child: Children’s Literature: Anthropomorphism: Animality: Posthumanism

CFP: Oxford Literary Review 41.2 (December 2019)
Deconstruction and the Child
Children’s literature: anthropomorphism: animality: posthumanism (Timothy Clark and Jennifer Ford)

“The category of ‘childhood’—as well as the related notions of ‘children’ and ‘child’— requires a rethinking…” (Spyros Spyrou, Childhood [2017])

The title of OLR 41.2 (December 2019) deploys four unstable terms, all deeply implicated in definition of the other (children, anthropomorphism, animality, posthumanism). Children’s literature is often seen as a literature of nature, animals, talking animals and toys, but what concepts of the child, childhood and the nonhuman are being assumed or reinforced?

It has been argued that “it is difficult to overstate the correlation of the animal and the child in literature written and marketed for young readers” (Jaques, 2017, Childhood and Pethood in Literature and Culture, p. 109) and that “literature geared towards a child audience reflects and contributes to the cultural tensions created by the oscillation between the upholding and undermining the divisions between the human and the animal” (Amy Ratelle, 2015, Animality and Children’s Literature and Film, p .4). Such correlations, oscillation and instability often and sometimes inevitably occur within contexts of overt and covert didacticism (the “purpose” of “children’s literature” is to “teach” something), dialogism (between child reader, adult author, child narrator and nonhumans) and inter-generational or inter-species differences. Might a re-evaluation of “child” and “children’s literature” be part of the posthuman impulse dating back to Foucault’s speculation in 1971 that the concept “man” may be nearing its end?

This is the first time the concept of the “child” has featured as a central question for a volume of OLR, or of deconstructive thought more widely.

Topics for “Deconstruction and the Child: Children’s literature: anthropomorphism: animality: posthumanism” might include: children’s philosophy/philosophy for children; environmental ethics and children’s literature; childish dissonance — the repetition of obvious and unanswerable questions (why do we eat some animals?); approaches to notions of the “autobiographical” animal or nonhuman in children’s literature; the child as a nonchronological category, present throughout life in all textual forms (the “outsider within” (David Kennedy) or the “hidden adult” (Perry Nodelman); the child as deconstructive of the human/animal/environment difference; natality; “the child” as “a concept that runs a particular risk of being hypostatised” (Stephen Thomson, OLR vol 25); childhood, adolescence and magic realism; childhood and adolescence as privileged sites for philosophies of the pre-reflective; “children’s literature” and reassessments of hierarchies of “serious” and “genre” fiction; visual and literal deconstructions across different formats within children’s literature.

Expressions of interest, with an abstract of up to 500 words for a proposed paper of maximum 6000 words are invited by October 31, 2018. Contact and/or The deadline for completed submissions would then be May 15, 2019, for a publication date of December 2019.

For more information on the OLR, see