Schwebel edits book on Newbery Medal books

Sara Schwebel
Sara L. Schwebel, Professor and Director of the Center for Children's Books

Sara L. Schwebel, professor and director of the Center for Children's Books, and Jocelyn Van Tuyl, professor of French at New College of Florida, have coedited a new book, Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children's Literature at the Newbery Centennial, which was recently published by Routledge. The Newbery Medal, the oldest and most influential children's book award in the United States, marks its 100th anniversary this year. In Dust Off the Gold Medal, Schwebel and Van Tuyl collect fourteen essays, written by contributors across the country, who examine Newbery winners that have been understudied by literary scholars.

"Newbery Medal-winning books rarely go out of print, enjoying permanent spots on library shelves. But children's literature has changed considerably in the hundred years since the awards' inception," said Schwebel. "Should Newbery Medal-winning books remain in perpetual circulation, being introduced to each new generation of schoolchildren? There has been a dearth of scholarship on the prize-winning books despite their outsized influence."

Each chapter of Dust off the Gold Medal, which is organized chronologically from the 1920s to the 2010s, analyzes a title neglected by literary scholars, illustrating how it responds to contemporary concerns around race, class, gender, disability, nationalism, and globalism.

"When I first entered the field, I set myself the task of reading all of the Newbery winners," said Schwebel. "I wondered, on more than one occasion, 'why did this title win the prize?' The contributors of this volume speculate on just that question, presenting wonderful arguments for texts whose import had previously been obscure to me—and to many others."

A historian and children's literature scholar, Schwebel's work centers on the way books, media, and school instruction shape young people's conceptualizations of the past. She is the author of Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms (2011) and the editor of Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader's Edition (2016) and The Lone Woman and Last Indians Digital Archive. Schwebel holds a PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Kim defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Jenna Kim successfully defended her dissertation, "Evaluating Pre-Trained Language Modeling Approaches for Author Name Disambiguation," on June 11, 2024.

Jenna Kim headshot

Desai defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Smit Desai successfully defended his dissertation, "Designing Metaphor-fluid Voice User Interfaces," on June 10.

Smit Desai

Student says ‘thank you’ with a helicopter ride

Last month, Michael Ferrer showed appreciation for one of his MSIM instructors in a unique way—by inviting him for an insider’s look at his work as a reservist in the Illinois Army National Guard. For the ILARNG BOSS Lift, which took place on June 18 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Ferrer selected Michael Wonderlich, iSchool adjunct lecturer and senior associate director of business intelligence and enterprise architecture for Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS) at the University of Illinois.

Michael Wonderlich and Michael Ferrer hold a U of I flag in front of a military helicopter

Project helps librarians use data storytelling to advocate for public libraries

A toolkit for public librarians can help them use data to communicate the value of their services and justify their funding needs. The Data Storytelling for Librarians Toolkit helps librarians present data in story form using narrative strategies. It was developed by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign information sciences professors.

Kate McDowell

Chan to deliver keynote at SIGCIS 2024

Associate Professor Anita Say Chan will deliver the keynote at the 15th annual conference of the SHOT (Society for the History of Technology) Special Interest Group for Computing, Information, and Society (SIGCIS), which will be held on July 14 in Viña del Mar, Chile. SIGCIS is the leading international group for historians with an interest in the history of information technology and its applications. The theme for SIGCIS 2024 is "System Update: Patches, Tactics, Responses."

Anita Say Chan