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Lenski Children’s Literature Lecture to explore diversity in youth literature March 30

Photo of Deborah Stevenson

The 22nd annual Lois Lenski Children’s Literature Lecture will explore diversity in youth literature at 7 p.m. Monday, March 30, in Stevenson Hall, room 101.

Deborah Stevenson, director of the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, will present The Elephants in the Room: The Challenges of Diversity in Youth Literature.

The event, sponsored by Illinois State’s Milner Library and the Department of English, is free and open to the public.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nancy Larrick’s The All-White World of Children’s Books, an article that first moved the diversity discussion into the public spotlight. In her talk, Stevenson will explore the lack of progress in diversity for young people’s literature since the 1960s, and what obstacles have been standing in its way.

Stevenson has taught children’s literature at UIUC, Simmons College and Indiana University Northwest. Her articles have appeared in the Horn Book Magazine, The Lion and the Unicorn, and the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. She was a senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature and a contributor to the Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature. She is a co-editor with Illinois State Professor of English Karen Coats on the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Children’s Literature.

The Lenski Lecture is named for Newbery-award winning children’s author Lois Lenski, who generously donated a portion of her papers to Milner Library before her death in 1974. The Lenski Lecture is the longest-running children’s literature lecture to focus on literary criticism in the United States.

For additional information, contact the Department of English at (309) 438-3667.