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Feb. 11, 2013

The U of I News Bureau recently interviewed Carol Tilley, GSLIS assistant professor, about her research into the personal archives of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, an anti-comics critic whose 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent inspired federal hearings that decimated the comic book industry.

Tilley's research is based on a review of Wertham’s personal archives, which were made available to researchers in 2010. During her review, she found numerous inconsistencies between the case notes of children treated by Wertham and the content in his book:

“From a contemporary standpoint, ‘Seduction’ is horribly written because it’s not documented,” she said. “There are no citations, no bibliography. He quotes a lot of people, refers to lots of things, but there’s no really good way of knowing what his basis is for any of this.”

“Lots of people have suspected for years that...

Jan. 28, 2013

Carol Tilley, GSLIS assistant professor, is an invited speaker for the Colloquia Series at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. Tilley’s presentation, “Children, Comics, Critics, and the Researcher,” is scheduled for January 30.

In the mid-twentieth century, comic books were extremely popular but also a highly contested form of print. In her presentation, Tilley will draw from her archival research on Fredric Wertham, a prominent critic of comic books, and the 1954 Senate hearings on comic books, which revealed letters from young readers providing insight into how they disputed the way adults understood comic book reading. Tilley writes:

I did not expect to find letters from young comics readers when I explored these collections. The discovery of these narratives has prompted me to extend this investigation into locating more...

Oct. 12, 2011

Assistant Professor Kate McDowell is the author of a chapter in The History of Reading, Volume 1: International Perspectives, c. 1500-1990, a newly published book edited by Shafquat Towheed and W.R. Owens. In her chapter, "Understanding Children as Readers: Librarians' Anecdotes and Surveys in the United States, 1890-1930," McDowell examines the history of children's reading through surveys and anecdotes collected from librarians during a time of great interest in childhood, the rise of children’s publishing, and the emergence of mass media.

According to McDowell, "It's fascinating to uncover some of the ways that children have responded to the librarians and teachers guiding their reading. We have histories of books, authors, and even many of the booksellers and critics who created a vibrant world of children's literature in the early...

Aug. 27, 2010

Deborah Stevenson has begun her three-year term as the director of the Center for Children’s Books (CCB). Stevenson will also continue to serve as the editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Stevenson has been with the Bulletin since 1992 and has served as editor since 2001. The Bulletin, founded in 1945, is one of the nation's leading children's book review journals for school and public librarians.

“I'm looking forward to playing my part in both upholding the Center's legacy and developing its future, and I'm eagerly anticipating the opportunity to pursue some exciting new research projects,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson is a widely-respected expert in children’s literature: she has served on both the Newbery Medal Committee (2010) and the Caldecott Medal Committee (2000), two prestigious annual awards that honor the most distinguished publications in...

Feb. 12, 2010

GSLIS doctoral student Minjie Chen received the ALISE / University Of Washington Information School Youth Services Graduate Student Travel Award at this year's Association for Library and Information Science Education annual conference.

The award is open to students currently enrolled in an LIS graduate program with a concentration in youth services, who are members of the Youth Services SIG and must be actively participating in the ALISE conference. Chen presented a work-in-progress poster on her research focusing on the history of early Chinese American children's literature published from the 1920s until the eve of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s. Chen also gave a brief presentation on her research projects in multicultural youth literature and the historical approach of her...

Jan. 19, 2010

The winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal was announced this week. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead was selected by a committee of experts on children's literature as 2009's most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The American Library Association has awarded the Newbery Medal since 1922.

Deborah Stevenson, editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and assistant professor at GSLIS served on this year's Newbery Medal committee. We spoke with Stevenson about her service to the committee and about the current crop of books for children.

1. What is the significance of the Newbery Medal, and why is it important for children's books to be honored in this way?

The Newbery, I think, has two main effects. One is within the field, to provide recognition for the achievements made within the year; the other is outside of...

Dec. 14, 2009

The Marshall Gallery at the University Library is currently featuring an exhibit titled, "Cinderella: Down the Street and Around the World," a display of children's books that reflect the prevalence and popularity of the well-known story of Cinderella. The exhibit is sponsored by and drawn from the folklore collection of the Center for Children's Books. This exhibit will run through the end of January.

The picture books and young adult fiction on display include stories that range from Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, a lushly-illustrated story from Zimbabwe, to an Edward Gorey-ish Art Deco version set in the 1920s.

In addition to titles from ten countries' traditions, the exhibit also showcases modern versions of the tale, picture books that tweak the main characters' persona (such...