Sarah Park Dahlen

Associate Professor

PhD, Library and Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Other professional appointments

Co-Editor, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature
Scholar-in-Residence, Hollins University Graduate Programs in Children's Literature, Summer 2021

Research focus

Children's and young adult literature, Asian American youth literature, youth services librarianship, transracial Asian adoption, and diversity in the information profession.

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Teaching and Advising Award, St. Catherine University, 2020-2021
  • Mentoring Award, Children's Literature Association, 2021
  • Faculty Research and Scholarly Activities Grant, "A Visit to the Frances Carpenter and Frank G. Carpenter Archives at the Smith College—Young Library in Northampton, MA and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C." St. Catherine University, 2019-2020
  • Faculty Research Award, Children's Literature Association, 2019
  • Diversity Award, Children's Literature Association, 2017
  • Leadership Award, iSchool Alumni Association, University of Illinois, 2016


Sarah Park Dahlen joined the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois as an associate professor in August 2021. She previously served as an associate professor of library and information science at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dahlen's research addresses Korean adoption in children’s literature, Frank Carpenter and Frances Carpenter’s writings for children, and diversity in children's literature and library education. She is cofounder of the scholarly journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, with Gabrielle Atwood Halko; coeditor of Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (2013), with Jamie Campbell Naidoo; and co-creator of the 2015 and 2018 Diversity in Children's Books Infographics, with David Huyck, which are based on data from the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her honors include the Leadership Award from the iSchool's Alumni Association (2016), Faculty Teaching and Advising Award from St. Catherine University (2021), and the Mentoring Award from the Children's Literature Association (2021). She has served on several children's book award committees and curates the youth literature programming at the Asian American Literature Festival hosted by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Library of Congress.

She holds an MS and PhD in library and information science from the University of Illinois and a BA and MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA.

Publications & Papers

Dahlen, Sarah Park and Paul Lai. (under contract and in progress). Asian Americans in Story: Context, Collections, and Community Engagement with Children’s and Young 
Adult Literature
. ALA Editions.

Dahlen, Sarah Park and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (eds.) (2022). Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World. University Press of Mississippi.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2021). "Authenticity." In Keywords for Children's Literature 2nd edition, edited by Philip Nel, Lissa Paul, and Nina Christensen. New York University Press.

Gibson, Amelia. N., Renate L. Chancellor, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, Beth Patin, and Yasmeen Shorish. (2020). "Struggling to Breathe: COVID-19, Protest, and the LIS Response." In Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 39.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2020). "'We Need Diverse Books': Diversity, Activism, and Children's Literature." In Literary Cultures and Twenty-First Century Childhoods, edited by Nathalie op de Beeck. Palgrave.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2019). "Asian American Children's Literature." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature, edited by Josephine Lee (general editor), Floyd Cheung, Jennifer Ho, Anita Mannur, and Cathy Schlund-Vials. Oxford University Press.

Backman, Antonio, Chayse Sundt, and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2018). "Asian American Teen Fiction: An Urban Public Library Analysis." In Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2018). "Birth Searching: Transnationally Adopted Koreans in Search of Self." In Growing Up Asian American in Young Adult Fiction, edited by Ymitri Mathison. University of Mississippi Press. *This book received the Children's Literature Association's Edited Book Award in 2020.

Gibson, Amelia N., Renate L. Chancellor, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, Beth Patin, and Yasmeen Shorish. (2017). "Libraries on the Frontlines: Neutrality and Social Justice." Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 36 (8): 751-66. 


Dahlen, Sarah Park, Sayantani DasGupta, Debbi Michiko Florence, Betina Hsieh, Jung Kim, Noreen Naseem Rodríguez, Trung Le Nguyen, Andrea Wang, Paula Yoo. "Amplifying Asian American Youth Literature," National Council of Teachers of English annual conference: Equity, Justice, and Anti-Racist Teaching. November 18-21, 2021.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "The Pedagogy and Aesthetics of Mid-Century Youth Literature Depicting Korea." International Research Society for Children's Literature biennial congress: Aesthetic and Pedagogic Entanglements. Santiago, Chile. October 26-30, 2021. (international)

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Turning Point? The Past and Future Trajectory of Korean Adoption in American Youth Literature." Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture biennial conference. October 22-23, 2021.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Asian American Youth Literature." 2021 Virtual Summer Global Teacher Education Program, Indiana State University and GyeongIn National University of Education. Seoul, Korea. August 9, 2021.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "A Failure of Imagination: Rendering Korean Birth Mothers in Children's Fiction." Children's Literature Association annual conference: The Arcade. June 10-12, 2021.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Asian American Children's Literature: Possibilities and Pitfalls." University of South Carolina School of Information Science Baker Diversity Lecture Series. February 18, 2021.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "(Re)Presenting Korea: The Carpenters and the White American Imaginary." Gryphon Lecture, Center for Children's Books, University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. Champaign, IL. November 12, 2020.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Asian American Children’s Literature: Possibilities & Pitfalls." (keynote). Between East and West: International Symposium on Asian Children’s Literature. Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. October 24, 2020. (international)

Dahlen, Sarah Park. "Orphanhood and Adoption in Children’s Literature" (plenary).  University of Antwerp Children's Literature Summer School. Antwerp, Belgium. July 2020. (international)

Lee, Erika and Sarah Park Dahlen. "Confronting Xenophobia and Supporting Asian and Asian/Pacific American Communities during COVID-19." Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and the American Library Association Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, May 1, 2020. See the "Asian American K-12 Resources" I created for this webinar.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2016). "Who Is 'The Other?' Alvin Ho: Not Allergic to Playing Indian, Feathers, and Other Stereotypical Things." In The Early Reader in Children's Literature and Culture, edited by Jennifer Miskec and Annette Wannamaker. Routledge Press. *This book received the Children's Literature Association Edited Book Honor in 2018.

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