Published in Bookbird!


Work on this article began nearly three years ago, in September 2011, when I was starting my junior year in college. Craziness! The research/publishing cycle really does take as long as they say.

I’ve alluded to this article on my “About” page, and it’s still hard to believe that it’s finally here. I like to think that since Bookbird is one of the top international children’s literature journals (it really is; there aren’t that many of them!), that my inclusion in the magazine legitimizes all of those children’s literature posts I like to do. See? I’m not just some random person on the Internet posting stuff about children’s literature left & right. I’m a real, published (article) author!

Article in Bookbird

The article, which is around 3,500 words long if I remember correctly, is entitled “María Elena Walsh and the Art of Subversive Children’s Literature.” In the essay, I argue that Walsh, probably the most famous of all of Argentina’s children’s book authors, was a Lewis Carroll figure in her home country. Her subversive books for children challenged all sorts of societal norms and undermined the dictatorial government.

To be honest, I haven’t read my article since I submitted the final version back in September last year (!!), so I’m not sure whether I would be embarrassed by it at this point. I hope not. I remember thinking that I had some good analysis in there, particularly towards the ending!

Article in Bookbird

Writing the article was a challenge, but a welcome one. My mentor, Jeff, encouraged me from the very beginning of my research project to consider submitting an article to a scholarly journal. I’m not sure if he actually expected it to happen (it’s quite rare for undergraduates, especially those outside of the sciences, to get published!), but I took his word for it. And may I just say that most professors don’t give their students/research assistants enough credit. I was very lucky to find a mentor who took me even more seriously than I took myself!

My research on María Elena took me to the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, and to Buenos Aires itself — Walsh’s home city. Perhaps even more important than those fabulous trips was the permanent installation of a lifelong appreciation for children’s literature. It’s one of those genres/subjects that people tend to overlook or consider worthless. All I can say is that much of the artwork in picture books, and much of the writing in children’s/YA books, far exceeds the pithy offerings churned out for adults.

Unfortunately, the article isn’t open access just yet. You can download the PDF from Project Muse if you have access via your institution. If you can’t download the PDF, however, just contact me and I’ll see what I can do. I also have an extremely lengthy bibliography on Walsh that I compiled for my senior honor’s thesis. It’s a bit of a researcher’s bonanza, if I’m being honest!

In addition, if any of you are curious to hear more about the details involved in researching, writing, and submitting an article for publication, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t whip something up.

As for this blog, I’ve got a couple of very good children’s literature posts coming up soon, if I do say so myself!

The International Youth Library

The International Youth Library in Munich, Germany
The International Youth Library in Munich, Germany

For the vast majority of you who’ve probably never heard of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library), here’s a quick introduction. Built in 1439, the castle, whose proper German name is Schloss Blutenburg (Blood Castle), was once a fully-functioning hunting lodge and mini-fortress complete with a moat. Several decades ago, in 1983 to be exact, the long-dormant castle was re-imagined as an international haven for children’s literature. Today, it boasts the largest and arguably the finest collection of children’s books in the world and is filled with scholars who are incredibly knowledgeable about different aspects of the still-burgeoning field.

About a year and a half ago, I was lucky enough to actually get to go to this marvelous castle-turned-library. My research in children’s literature thus far has focused on the lovely María Elena Walsh, a beloved Argentine children’s book author and subversive political figure in her home country. But she deserves a post of her own.

To cut to the chase: I was recently asked to contribute a blog post about my research experience to the International Youth Library blog, which you can read here. And while I was in Germany, I did make a quick expedition to Salzburg – more on that here (bottom of page).

Children’s literature is a fascinating and somewhat under-recognized subject & academic field. I’ll be talking about it quite a bit more on this blog, but in a critical way – no oh-my-god-my-favorite-book-when-I-was-five-was-the-hungry-caterpillar types of posts, I promise.

Thanks to the lovely Petra for asking me to contribute to the IYL blog!