Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig — I have just returned home from two children’s literature conferences. On June 1, I left for Qingdao, China, to participate in the 2016 China-US Symposium for Children’s Literature. I returned to Charlotte on June 7, and the very next day I flew off to Columbus, Ohio, to attend the Children’s Literature Association Conference. While there, I received the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award, which is a career-achievement award in the field of children’s literature.
My experiences at these conferences underscored for me how fortunate I am to teach in an English Department that highly values the study of children’s literature. My career as a children’s literature professor has benefited a great deal from the support I have received from my colleagues and students at UNC Charlotte.
The award plaque I received from the Children’s Literature Association has lots of text, but my favorite line reads, “UNCC is considered one of the centers of study of children’s literature in North America.” This recognition reflects the scholarship and teaching of many people, not just me. Our children’s literature program was started by Anita Moss and Sarah Smedman in the 1970s. Over the years, Paula Connolly, Daniel Shealy, Beth Gargano, and Balaka Basu have played significant roles in building the program.
One of the ways in which our children’s literature program is unique is that many members of the English Department who were not initially hired to teach children’s literature have made important contributions to the field. Two notable examples from the past are Jim McGavran, who edited three books on the relationship between romanticism and children’s literature, and Susan Gardner, who often taught courses on Native American children’s literature. Current faculty members who are doing work in the field of children’s literature include JuliAnna Avila, Andrew Hartley, Janaka Lewis, Alan Rauch, Maya Socolovsky, and Ralf Thiede. We also have several part-time faculty members who participate in our children’s literature program, including Valerie Bright and Sarah Minslow. I am pretty sure that there is no other English Department in North America in which so many faculty members are involved in children’s literature.
Kudos— As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. Here is the latest news:
Jen Munroe‘s co-edited (with Rebecca Laroche) collection, Ecofeminist Approaches to Early Modernity (Palgrave, 2011) has just been reissued it in paperback. Here is the link:
Heather Blain Vorhies presented “Painting the Mind: Cognitive Function in Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres” at the Rhetoric Society of America over Memorial Day weekend. She also hosted a Grand Opening of her Little Free Library this past weekend. Little Free Libraries (littlefreelibrary.org) started in Wisconsin in 2009 with one red schoolhouse library; there are now more than 40,000 internationally. James Vorhies of Atkins Library constructed the bungalow-style library, and Tiffany Morin came along to help out at the Grand Opening.
Quirky Quiz Question — The line “home again, home again, jiggety-jig” comes from a nursery rhyme. Does anybody know the title of this nursery rhyme?