Sarah Park Dahlen

Associate Professor

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

Room 238, 501 E. Daniel St.

Other professional appointments

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

  • 2023 National Book Award judge for Young People's Literature
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students, University of Illinois
  • Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World recognized as "Highly Commended" by the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL) 2023 Book Award committee
  • 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 co-editor of the scholarly journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, with Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez; co-editor of Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World (2022) with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas; 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, including the National Book Award jury for Young People's Literature, 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.

Office hours

Office hours by appointment

Publications & Papers


For a full list of publications, please visit Sarah Park Dahlen's Google Scholar page.

Lim, Yeojoo and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2023). “The Paradox of the DMZ: Making War, Division, and Unification Intelligible Through Korean Picture Books.” Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, 61(3) pp 45-54.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. (2022). “Separation, Sorrow, and Silence: What Birth Mothers and Birth Searching in Children’s Literature Can Teach Us About the Abortion v. Adoption Debate.” Adoption & Culture, 10(2).

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.

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. “아시아계 미국 청소년 문학의 '축하받는 코호트’: 과거, 현재, 미래 (A ‘Celebrated Cohort’ of Asian American Youth Literature: Past, Present, and Future).” 국제방정환학술포럼 (어린이날 제정 100주년 기념 사업 (International Bang Junghwan Forum). Seoul National University and Bang Jung Hwan Research Institute, Seoul, Korea. July 23, 2022.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. “A Tale of Two Travelers: How Frank G. Carpenter and Frances Carpenter Introduced Korea to White Americans in the Decades Before the Forgotten War.” Children’s Literature Association annual conference: City in a Forest. Atlanta, GA. June 2-4, 2022.

Kwon, Yaejoon, Sarah Park Dahlen, Vincent Pham, and Dana Nakano. “Building Momentum in a Shutdown: Asian American Studies in Practice.” Association for Asian American Studies annual conference: Ruin and Renewal. Denver, CO. April 15, 2022.

Breslin, Amy K.; Dahlen, Sarah Park; Kwisnek, Kristen; & Leathersich, Becky. “Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Youth Literature: APALA’s Evaluation Rubric.” Center for Children’s Books, iSchool, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. April 11, 2022.

Dahlen, Sarah Park. “Turning Point? The Past and Future Trajectory of Korean Adoption in American Youth Literature.” Modernity, Memory, and Asian Childhood International Conference. Taiwan Children’s Literature Research Association (TCLRA) and the Institute of Art Studies, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. November 20, 2021.

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)

Colón-Aguirre, Mónica, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, and Beth Patin. “Still Struggling to Breathe: Another Conversation about Libraries and Communities in Distress.” (Equity and Social Justice SIG panel). Association for Library and Information Science Education annual conference. September 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.

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.