iSchool Professors and Doctoral Candidate Present at Children’s Literature Association Annual Meeting

From May 30 to June 1, Florida State University faculty members Don Latham and Melissa Gross and Doctoral Candidate Vashalice Kaaba attended and presented at the Children’s Literature Association annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Dr. Don Latham

The Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) is a non-profit association of scholars, critics, professors, students, librarians, teachers and institutions dedicated to the academic study of literature for children.

Latham and Gross have been members of the organization for several years and have frequently presented at the conference. Latham described how the conference gives them the opportunity to engage with children’s literature scholarship while reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. 

Dr. Melissa Gross

This year, Latham gave a paper presentation titled “Miss Pickerell Goes to ChLA: Looking Back at Ellen MacGregor’s Science Fiction for Children.” By utilizing the first four books in the Miss Pickerell book series, which were popular in the 1950’s, Latham discussed how the books both conform to and resist traditional gender and genre roles.

Vashalice Kaaba

Melissa Gross presented ““Bistrategic Popularity: Power and Tyranny in I, Claudia.” She discussed the prosocial and coercive approaches of social relationships in Mary McCoy’s young adult novel.

Kaaba presented “ReNewbery: A Multidisciplinary Study of Anti-Blackness in Black-Authored Newbery Books and its Implications for Critical Librarianship.” Additionally, she presented a poster titled “Unlocking Worlds Through Words: Advancing Library Social Responsibility Through Children’s Literature in the Global South.”

Latham additionally notes the interesting presentations they had the opportunity to listen into. “We heard papers on books, films, and games for children and young adults. The keynote speaker was Ebony Elizabeth Thomas from the University of Michigan, and she gave an inspiring talk on ‘Speculative Grief, Speculative Hope’ in children’s and young adult books,” he said.