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Picture of Frontiers in American Children’s Literature

Frontiers in American Children’s Literature

Editor(s): Dorothy Clark, Linda Salem
Contributors: Zara Rix, Raphael Rogers, Norma Aceves, Steven Herb, Anastasia Ulanowicz, Kathleen Nigro, Melanie Koss,

Book Description

Frontiers in American Children’s Literature is a groundbreaking work by both established and emerging scholars in the fields of children’s literature criticism, history, and education. It offers 18 essays which explore and critically examine the expanding canon of American children’s books against the backdrop of a social history comprised of a deep layering of trauma and struggle, redefining what equality and freedom mean.

The book charts new ground in how children’s literature is telling stories of historical trauma – the racial violence of American slavery, the Mexican Repatriation Act, and the oppression and violence against African Americans in light of such murders as in the AME Mother Emanuel Church and the shooting of Michael Brown. This new frontier explores how truth telling about racism, oppression, and genocide communicates with the young about violence and freedom in literature, transforming harsh truths into a moral vision. Frontiers in American Children’s Literature will be an instant classic for fans of children’s and adolescent literature, American literature, cultural studies, and students of literature in general, as well as teachers and prospective teachers. Those interested in art history, graphic novels, picture book art, African American and American Indian literature, the digital humanities, and new media will also find this volume compelling.

Authors and artists covered in these essays include Laurie Halse Anderson, M.T. Anderson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Louise Erdrich, Eric Gansworth, Edward Gorey, Russell Hoban, Ellen Hopkins, Patricia Polacco, Ann Rinaldi, Peter Sís, Lynd Ward, and Naomi Wolf, among others. Essayists examine their subjects’ most provocative works on the topics of realistic depictions of slavery, oppression, and trauma, and the triumph of truth in storytelling over these experiences. From The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing to The Birchbark House, from the graphic novel to picture books and the digital humanities in teaching and reading, there is something for everyone in this collection. Contributors include leaders in the fields of literature and education, such as the award-winning Katherine Capshaw and Anastasia Ulanowicz. Margaret Noodin, poet and leader in American Indian scholarship and education, leads the essays on American Indian children’s literature, while Steven Herb, Director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, offers an insider’s view of Caldecott Medal awardee Lynn Ward.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-8797-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-8797-8
Date of Publication: 01/04/2016
Pages / Size: 310 / A5
Price: £52.99


Dorothy Clark is Professor of English at California State University, Northridge. She is the co-director of the Children’s Literature Society of the American Literature Association.

Linda Salem is the author of Children’s Literature Studies: Cases and Discussions and the librarian for the Edward Gorey and children’s literature collections at San Diego State University Library and for the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She co-directs the Children’s Literature Society of the American Literature Association.