CALL FOR PAPERS
Picturing Children of the Sun: A Critical Kaleidoscope of African-American Children’s Picture Books
Edited by Michelle H. Martin
With the publication of Mrs. A. E. Johnson’s Clarence and Corinne, or God’s Way (1890) and Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s Little Brown Baby (1895), the genre of African-American children’s literature was born. During its brief print run in 1920 and 1921, The Brownies’ Book Magazine published photographs and visual images of African American children that brought to light the importance of visual and artistic representations of Black life and childhood that depicted the actual experiences of Black people rather than the distorted views that too often surfaced in picture books that relied on minstrel images as did Little Brown Koko and The Ten Little Niggers books. As African-American children’s picture books evolved throughout the 20th century, they reflected the monumental shifts taking place in African America; the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Arts Movement have given rise to what I have labeled the “Golden Age” of African American children’s picture books. While the publication of African American children’s literature climaxed in the late-1990s and has fallen since, a substantial number of Black authors and illustrators of children’s picture books continue to make a living from their craft, and second-generation Black picture book craftsmen and women are also becoming more common.
This anthology will feature critical and creative essays about African-American children’s picture books from the earliest introduction of the genre until the present. In this volume, African American children’s literature is defined inclusively; hence, essays will be considered that focus on picture books by African American authors and illustrators as well as those by non-African American authors whose picture books portray the Black experience. Contributors are invited to consider critical papers about fiction, nonfiction, biography, wordless picture books, graphic novels for younger readers, historical and contemporary picture books, little-known texts, and archival research on particular picture books. Critical essays from English Studies, Education, Library Science and other fields will be considered, but the editor would prefer not to include pedagogical essays. Creative pieces might focus on particular authors or illustrators and their work, specific texts, lifelong connections with Black picture books, autobiographical concerns of African American authors and/or illustrators, etc.
Finished essays and creative pieces should be sent by December 15, 2012 to the address below. Critical essays should be 15-20 pages and should be written in MLA documentation style; creative pieces can be any length. Those considering submitting are encouraged to correspond with the editor.
Dr. Michelle H. Martin,
Augusta Baker Endowed Chair in Childhood Literacy
School of Library and Information Science
University of South Carolina
217 Davis College
Columbia, SC 29208