Sunday, March 20, 2016

The New Springtime With Visiting Scholar Michelle H. Martin And Say Goodbye To That Famous White Tailed Bunny

What better way to complete last year’s amazing children’s literature scholar, Dr. Michael Heyman's theme, with this Spring’s visiting Scholar Dr. Michelle H. Martin. It appears that rabbit hole is working its magic once again, and the library is the place to be between the end of winter and the first week of Spring—saying out with the old and in with the new. 

(Scroll down to find the details to this not so curious event!)

Last week, the SDSU Love Library held a special event in honor of a missing and recently found Alice mural. The unveiling of the mural took place on Tuesday in the plaza of the Love Library. There were the most festive treats before the audience was moved by the speeches of Dr. Gale Etschmaier, Ed.D. (Dean of the SDSU Library)—who gave the audience context of how the mural project came about and what connection the library had to it; Dr. Carole Scott, Ph.D (faculty emeritus and former Dean of Undergraduate Studies), who read from Lewis Carroll’s text in an energetic and beautiful tone; and Seth Mallios, Ph.D (Anthropology), who gave a moving speech about the project’s significance within SDSU’s own history. After the decorative treats were consumed, the NCSCL followed the library faculty, SDSU faculty, our generous donors, and other SDSU students to Hardy Tower where we found the hidden rabbit hole, and, my was it a sight to see.

And of course, if you were with us last year, you know the visiting scholar covered the topic of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the brilliance that resides inside nonsense literature. This seamless transition to this year’s visiting scholar is one we could not have planned better ourselves. After a year filled with that little white rabbit that has stolen our hearts away, we are ready to move forward into a new topic that is quite present in our society today.

Dr. Martin’s research interest cover topics in children's and young adult literature, as well as African American children's picture books, art in picture books, and sexual development in children's literature. Her numerous publications include: “Let Freedom Ring: Land, liberty, literacy and lore in Mildred Taylor” appearing in Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature, “African American” appearing in Keywords for Children's Literature, “'He's so sweet': Bon-bon buddy, literary child of Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes” appearing in Children's Literature Association Quarterly 35.3, “Pioneers of the Genre: Arna Bontemps, Langston Hughes, and the 'roots' of African American children's literature” appearing in Embracing, Evaluating and Examining African American Children's and Young Adult Literature, and her book out of Routledge Press titled Brown gold: Milestones of African-American children's picture books.

Dr. Martin will be giving an amazing and unforgettable lecture that is a must-see to bring in this new Spring season. With the way politics are taking place currently in our society and the amount of hope that we must continue to hold for our children and generations to come, we encourage all to come witness this inspiring scholar.




TIME: 5:00-6:30 PM


Images from last week's Alice mural unveiling:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lynching 101: the NCSCL 2016 Visiting Scholar's Lecture

Lynching 101: Young Adult Primers on the Murder of Emmett Till

The NCSCL 2016 Visiting Scholar's Lecture

Event Details: 
University of South Carolina

Date: Wednesday, March 23rd
Time: 5:00-6:30 pm
Place: Love Library-Leon Williams Room(430 & 431)

In her article, “Narrative Tensions: Telling Slavery, Showing Violence,” in Ann Lawson Lucas’s edited volume The Presence of the Past in Children’s Literature (2003), Paula Connolly articulates a common tension in children’s books—particularly picture booksthat depict violence.  She says:
Clearly the problem in publishing picture books about such issues derives from the specific age range of the books’ intended audience: to erase the violence of such events would be to mitigate the atrocity itself, yet including violence could easily alienate or terrify very young children.  For example, in retelling U.S. slavery, how does one portray—in pictures and for such a young audience—scenes of whippings, murders, rapes, and the forcible separation of families?  In short, how does one tell the truth? (107)
Telling the truth—gruesome and unspeakable as it is—is precisely what Simeon Wright does in Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till (2011), what David Robson does in The Murder of Emmett Till (2010), what Marilyn Nelson does in A Wreath for Emmett Till (2005), what Chris Crowe does in Getting Away with Murder (2003) and what Stephen J. Whitfield does in A Death in the Delta: the Story of Emmett Till (1991).  Unlike the picture books of which Connolly writes, these texts are primarily for young adults.  But like the picture books, these texts do have illustrations and deal with emotional issues that are unusually difficult for their intended audience.

These texts differ widely in terms of their format, their use of visual images, the reading level of the text as well as their approach to telling the ugly details of the lynching of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi in 1955. Yet they all offer some compelling answers to the questions that Connolly raises about the depiction of violence in literature for young people.  This presentation will explore a number of versions of the Emmett Till story in an effort to uncover strategies the authors use to maintain historical veracity while addressing young people about a topic that horrifies even most adults.  Despite their generic variety, all of these texts employ visual and/or textual confrontation, stark juxtapositions, and social and historical contextualization that help readers make sense of the era in which Emmett Till lived and died. 

Michelle Martin

Michelle Martin has been the inaugural Augusta Baker Endowed Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina in the School of Library and Information Science since August 2011, where she teaches courses in children's and young adult literature to undergraduate students in the education department and graduate students in the School of Library and Information Science. Prior to this position at USC, she taught for 12 years in the English Department at Clemson University. She holds a B.A. from The College of William and Mary (1988), an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University (1991) (which she considers her Girl Scout degree), and a Ph.D. in English, specializing in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Composition, from Illinois State University (1997).

Martin published Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002 with Routledge in 2004 and co-edited (with Claudia Nelson) Sexual Pedagogies: Sex Education in Britain, Australia, and America, 1879-2000 (Palgrave, 2003). Michelle has published articles in The Lion and the Unicorn, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Sankofa: a Journal of African Children's and Young Adult Literature, and Obsidian III, among others.  She is currently working on a book-length critical examination of the collaborative and individual works that Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes wrote for young people during their friendship and collaborative working relationship that lasted from the 1920s until the 1960s. Its working title is Dream Keepers for Children of the Sun: the Children¹s Literature of Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes.