“In some respects, they couldn’t be less alike. Raised by fundamentalist Christians, Thompson is a preternaturally gifted illustrator, less comfortable with text than a brush. “Drawing is the more obsessive and easy part,” he explained. “The writing is a lot of sweat.”
"I think I feel the opposite," Bechdel admitted. "The more fun, exciting part for me is the writing. I love the drawing, but it’s work." Sixteen years Thompson’s senior, the Oberlin graduate was raised by a high school English teacher and an actress, liberal academics. At 232 pages, Fun Home is by far the longest work of her career. Blankets is practically epic by comparison, clocking in at 582.
And yet both books describe inquisitive, artistic children in small-town America; both books, like their authors, defy easy categorization; both will be read for years to come.”
“Meet Alison’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family’s Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter’s complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned “fun home,” as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift…graphic…and redemptive.”
“Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. A profound and utterly beautiful work.”
“Journalist Scheeres offers a frank and compelling portrait of growing up as a white girl with two adopted black brothers in 1970s rural Indiana, and of her later stay with one of them at a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic. The book takes its title from a homemade sign that Scheeres and the brother closest to her in age and temperament, David, spot one day on a road in the Hoosier countryside, proclaiming, “This here is: JESUS LAND.” And while religion is omnipresent both at their school and in the home of their devout parents, the two rarely find themselves the beneficiaries of anything resembling Christian love. One of the elements that make Scheeres’s book so successful is her distanced, uncritical tone in relaying deeply personal and clearly painful events from her life. She powerfully renders episodes like her attempted rape at the hands of three boys, the harsh beatings administered to David by her father and the ceaseless racial taunting by schoolmates; her lack of perceivable malice or vindictiveness prevents readers from feeling coerced into sympathy. The same can be said for Scheeres’s description of their Dominican school, where humiliation and physical punishment are meant to redeem the allegedly misguided pupils. Tinged with sadness yet pervaded by a sense of triumph, Scheeres’s book is a crisply written and earnest examination of the meaning of family and Christian values, and announces the author as a writer to watch. “
Jesusland is a 2006 Alex Award winner, which “are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18”.
"Kidnapped for Christ is a feature-length documentary film, which follows the stories of several American teenagers who were sent to an Evangelical Christian reform school located in The Dominican Republic called “Escuela Caribe.” The school is run by Americans and is advertised as a “therapeutic Christian boarding school” whose mission is to “help struggling youth transform into healthy Christian adults.” While many have praised the school for saving the lives of hundreds of troubled teens, in the past several years many former students have begun to speak out against the school, claiming that they suffered both psychological and physical abuse during their time there. The film’s director, Kate Logan, set out to document the experiences of the students at this remote boarding school and was given unprecedented access to film for seven weeks on campus in the summer of 2006. Through candid interviews with distressed students, footage of staff imposing extreme discipline and punishments, and finally the attempted rescue of a student being held at the school illegally past the age of 18, she was able to reveal the shocking truth of what was actually going on at Escuela Caribe."
“In part 1 of my two part LEGO and Gender series, I’ll explore how LEGO went terribly wrong with LEGO Friends and provide a brief history of LEGO’s ridiculous and slightly hilarious attempts to market to girls since the late 70′s. In part 2 I’ll delve into LEGO’s intentional strategy to market almost exclusively to boys since the mid 80′s by developing and marketing sets that are male identified and male centered. In conclusion, I’ll offer LEGO a couple of suggestions that they can consider when creating and marketing new products.”
“In part 2, I delve into how LEGO shifted their products from their initial relatively, gender neutral building experience to a more male dominated and male identified one. The LEGO group intentionally did this in three ways: 1. Marketing exclusively to boys, 2. Producing male identified and centered themes and sets and 3. Focusing on stereotypical boys play scenarios with an emphasis on combat. The strong focus on boys has effectively kicked girls out of the LEGO club house. Keep watching until the end where I provide a few suggestions to LEGO on how to fix their gender segregation problem.”
From the call, deadline 05.01.12 for 500 word abstract and brief CV:
“In the last decade, stories of dystopian societies have become increasingly prevalent in young adult fiction, and almost all question young people’s places within such societies. Works such as Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, Ally Condi’s Matched, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone are particularly concerned with how their adolescent female protagonists’ navigation of social mores and structures give them virtually no control over the outcome of their lives. For example, in The Hunger Games Trilogy, Katniss Everdeen has learned from growing up in Panem, a country that willingly sacrifices its children to maintain control of their parents, that masking emotion is key to survival. Other protagonists, such as Matched’s Cassia and Delirium’s Lena, directly confront experiences of love and desire in societies that have eradicated such feelings.
While these female protagonists challenge the audience’s preconceptions of what it means to be a young woman—someone who is preoccupied with consumer culture, dating dilemmas, and high school cliques—the use of the dystopian genre raises the stakes of adolescent struggles regarding identity, agency, and community. These authors specifically place female protagonists in settings where they must rebel against society to take any control over their own lives and to improve the societies in which they live. Thus, through the realm of dystopian fiction, these authors argue that rebellion against authority allows young women to defy both social and gender expectations in order to become active agents in their own lives, rather than being passive recipients of social mores.
This proposed anthology seeks papers that consider how female protagonists are represented in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. How are the authors of young adult dystopian fiction consciously (or unconsciously) reinforcing or challenging stereotypical characterizations of female protagonists?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
•young women as rebels, leaders, or instigators •young women as the head of the family •war and its impact on young women •young women who reject/question socially-constructed feminine virtues •young women who challenge what it means to be a young women in their individual societies •role of environment and circumstance in YA dystopian fiction •claiming female agency in a dystopian society •female protagonists in YA dystopians compared to female protagonists in more conventional YA novels (i.e., Gossip Girl, The It Girl, or Uglies) •adolescent female rebellion in YA fiction
We are currently seeking a book contract for this anthology. Please submit a 500-word abstract and a brief CV by May 1, 2012 to: Sara K. Day, Miranda Green-Barteet, and Amy L. Montz at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
From the call, deadline 03.01.12 for 500 word abstract and brief biography:
“Bruce Babington and Noel Brown, editors
We are seeking contributions to a co-edited anthology which addresses global manifestations of children’s films and family films outside the Disney milieu.
There have been many scholarly works which focus on the historical, commercial and textual aspects of Disney films, yet the children’s films and family films produced elsewhere – whether in the Hollywood, European or other international cinemas – have been comparatively neglected. This collection aims to redress the balance by examining the production and reception of these films.
We invite original research on any aspect of non-Disney children’s films and family films, whether historically-oriented or more contemporary in scope. Essays may address key industrial and/or commercial issues attached to international children’s films and family films, or examine the production and reception of important individual texts (or filmic cycles).
A non-proscriptive list of possible topics includes:
• The relationship between children’s films and family films • The relationship with children’s cultural studies • Their relationship with other ‘crossover’ media, such as books, comics and video games • The dialectical relationship, either textual or in terms in reception, between Disney and non-Disney children’s/family films • The status of children’s films and/or family films in terms of genre • The development of children’s and family film movements in film industries internationally, particularly in the French, Eastern Europe and Japanese cinemas • The commercial and/or aesthetic aspects of the family blockbuster • The reception of children’s films and family films globally • The role of festivals and conventions in bringing lower-budget children’s films and family films to wider attention
We would ask prospective contributors to submit a 500-word abstract by 1 March 2012. Please include a brief biographical note. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be notified by 1 April 2012, and will be expected to deliver completed essays (of no more than 7,500 words, inclusive of references) by 1 August 2012.
Bruce Babington is the author of Launder and Gilliat (2002), A History of the New Zealand Feature Fiction Film (2007) and the forthcoming The Sports Film: Games People Play (2013). He is also the co-author of Blue Skies and Silver Linings: Aspects of the Hollywood Musical (1985), Affairs to Remember: The Hollywood Comedy of the Sexes (1989), Biblical Epics: Sacred Narrative in the Hollywood Cinema (1993) and Carmen on Film: A Cultural History (2007), and editor/co-editor of British Stars and Stardom: from Alma Taylor to Sean Connery (2001) and The Trouble With Men: Masculinities in European and Hollywood Cinema (2004). Noel Brown is the author of the forthcoming The Hollywood Family Film: A History, From Shirley Temple to Harry Potter (2013).
Bruce Babington Emeritus Professor of Film Percy Building Newcastle University Newcastle-upon-Tyne United Kingdom Email: email@example.com ”
“As debate continues over whether schools invest wisely in technology — and whether it measurably improves student achievement — Mooresville, a modest community about 20 miles north of Charlotte best known as home to several Nascar teams and drivers, has quietly emerged as the de facto national model of the digital school…
The district’s graduation rate was 91 percent in 2011, up from 80 percent in 2008. On state tests in reading, math and science, an average of 88 percent of students across grades and subjects met proficiency standards, compared with 73 percent three years ago. Attendance is up, dropouts are down. Mooresville ranks 100th out of 115 districts in North Carolina in terms of dollars spent per student — $7,415.89 a year — but it is now third in test scores and second in graduation rates…
Start with math lessons: each student’s MacBook Air is leased from Apple for $215 a year, including warranty, for a total of $1 million; an additional $100,000 a year goes for software. Terry Haas, the district’s chief financial officer, said the money was freed up through “incredibly tough decisions.”
Sixty-five jobs were eliminated, including 37 teachers, which resulted in larger class sizes — in middle schools, it is 30 instead of 18 — but district officials say they can be more efficiently managed because of the technology. Some costly items had become obsolete (like computer labs), though getting rid of others tested the willingness of teachers to embrace the new day: who needs globes in the age of Google Earth?”
This article is from Grading the Digital School, a New York Times series which “explores the push to digitize the American classroom and whether the promises are being fulfilled.”
Thought Catalog’s Stephanie Georgopulos makes incisive observations about the fantastic impossibilities in teen television characters, especially in regards to education and variations on orphan tale tropes. Selections from the article:
“Jordan Catalano, My So Called Life
I’ll accept that somewhere on earth, there’s a dyslexic, song writing (curious dynamic, there) Calvin Klein model who still shows up for school even though ~13 years passed before anyone noticed he couldn’t read…
Shawn Hunter, Boy Meets World
On what planet do orphaned kids move in with their teachers?…
Ryan Atwood, The OC
…His lawyer basically pulled the “Ain’t he cute? Can we keep him?” on his moneyed wife until she agreed that Ryan could stay for a while (like, five years or something). Because kids from broken families are exactly like puppies in that if you find one on the street, you can basically just pick it up and bring it home with you, no questions asked. Bonus points if it’s adorable!”
“This dramatic situation started when Jordan discovered a Facebook post from Hannah, complaining about her daily life at home. The note, which Jordan read and analyzed in his sit-down chat with the camera, takes issue with the slew of chores she’s forced to do each day. “To my parents: I’m not your damn slave,” the note begins. The teenage angst bleeds from the note, as Hannah proposes that her parents pay her for the chores that she does. This point, in particular, sets off Jordan, an IT worker from Albemarle, N.C., who proceeds to delineate how entitled Hannah sounds in the note. But that wasn’t the only punishment he planned for his daughter’s supposedly “hard” life.
“That right there is your laptop,” he explains, filming the newly-upgraded computer perched vulnerably in the grass. “This right here is my .45.” A quick cock of the gun, and Hannah’s laptop takes a shot through the screen. In the next 30 seconds, he proceeds to empty his gun, and the bullets shatter the computer’s plastic shell.
Naturally, the video has inspired an onslaught of commentary, from shocked teens distraught that a father could do such a thing, to praise from other parents equally annoyed at their children’s complaints. But Jordan has affirmed on Facebook that it’s outside observers that are the most outraged – enough to inspired Child Protective Services to show up at his home.”
“Michigan State University surveyed more than 700 employers seeking to hire recent college graduates. Nearly one-third said parents had submitted resumes on their child’s behalf, some without even informing the child. One-quarter reported hearing from parents urging the employer to hire their son or daughter for a position. Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate’s job interview.”
“Best shows us that, while the prom is often trivialized, most kids take the prom seriously. The prom is a space where kids work through their understanding of authority, social class, gender norms, and multicultural schooling. Proms are more than just pictures and puffed sleeves—they are a mythic part of youth culture and, for better or worse, will always be a night to remember.”
“High school and the difficult terrain of sexuality and gender identity are brilliantly explored in this smart, incisive ethnography. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in a racially diverse working-class high school, Dude, You’re a Fagsheds new light on masculinity both as a field of meaning and as a set of social practices. C. J. Pascoe’s unorthodox approach analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process but also a sexual one. She demonstrates how the “specter of the fag” becomes a disciplinary mechanism for regulating heterosexual as well as homosexual boys and how the “fag discourse” is as much tied to gender as it is to sexuality.”
“Rosalind Wiseman, who studies how teenagers use technology and is author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” a book for parents about helping girls survive adolescence, said the sharing of passwords, and the pressure to do so, was somewhat similar to sex.
Sharing passwords, she noted, feels forbidden because it is generally discouraged by adults and involves vulnerability. And there is pressure in many teenage relationships to share passwords, just as there is to have sex.
“The response is the same: if we’re in a relationship, you have to give me anything,” Ms. Wiseman said.
In a 2011 telephone survey, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 30 percent of teenagers who were regularly online had shared a password with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend. The survey, of 770 teenagers aged 12 to 17, found that girls were almost twice as likely as boys to share. And in more than two dozen interviews, parents, students and counselors said that the practice had become widespread.”
“When teens share their passwords with friends or significant others, they regularly employ the language of trust, as Richtel noted in his story. Teens are drawing on experiences they’ve had in the home and shifting them into their peer groups in order to understand how their relationships make sense in a broader context. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone because this is all-too-common for teen practices. Household norms shape peer norms.”
“John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
“Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos, is the 2012 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
“A Ball for Daisy,” illustrated and written by Chris Raschka, is the 2012 Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
“Where Things Come Back,” written by John Corey Whaley, is the 2012 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:
Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans,” is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of “Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom,” is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.
Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Ashley Bryan is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime achievement. The award, which pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.
Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
The Jury chose not to award a book in the category for children ages 0 – 8 because no submissions were deemed worthy of the award.
Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:
“Big Girl Small,” by Rachel DeWoskin, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“In Zanesville,” by Jo Ann Beard, published by Little, Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
“The Lover’s Dictionary,” by David Levithan, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens,” by Brooke Hauser, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“The Night Circus,” by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
“Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.(ISBN: 9780307887436)
“Robopocalypse: A Novel,” by Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
“Salvage the Bones,” by Jesmyn Ward, published by Bloomsbury USA
“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures,” by Caroline Preston, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
“The Talk-Funny Girl,” by Roland Merullo, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.”
Full list of award winners and honorable mentions in the ALA article.
From the call, deadline 01.31.12 for 200 word proposal and draft bibliography:
"This special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies will explore how Victorian constructions of childhood are re-mediated and renegotiated in contemporary arts and discourse, from neo-Victorian children’s literature and/or fiction featuring children, heritage film and television, the media, social policy making and family politics, to present-day legal frameworks. In particular, how do revisionary fiction and other contemporary cultural discourses for/about children and/or young adults rejuvenate, modify, and assist us in re-thinking the Victorians and associated themes of temporality, cross-generational continuities, and urgent social issues such as child labour, trafficking and paedophilia? Contributions, both academic articles and creative pieces, are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:
• rewrites and film adaptations of Victorian children’s/young adults’ classics and/or child-focused fictions (The Little Princess, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, The Turn of the Screw, etc.) • re-imaginings of stock child characters from Victorian melodrama and other popular genres (orphans, street Arabs, innocent angels, feral and criminal children, etc.) • re-inventions of Victorian narrative and dramatic genres for children (e.g. the adventure story, fairytale, moral tract, Bildungsroman, puppet play, and pantomime) • adaptations of neo-Victorian genres for juvenile audiences (cf. steampunk or graphic novels for children and adolescents) • continuities/discontinuities between contemporary narratives about adoption and migration and nineteenth-century orphan narratives • imagined child readers/viewers • child illness/death; children and medicine • neo-Victorian vs. neo-Edwardian children’s fiction and other art forms • the child victim in socio-legal and political discourse • colonial vs. postcolonial representations of the child
Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Claudia Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org and Anne Morey at email@example.com by 31st January 2012, including a 200 word proposal with draft bibliography and brief biographical details. Completed articles and/or creative pieces will be due 1st April 2012 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consult the NVS website (submission guidelines) for further guidance.”
“Hildafolk is my debut comic book from Nobrow Press. It’s 24 pages long and follows Hilda through an eventful day in which she wanders the Scandinavian wilderness she calls her home, draws some rocks, hangs out with The Wood Man and has a chance encounter with a troll. It’s essentially a brief introduction to a character and world I’m intending to expand on and explore in the future.”
“Rookie is a website for teenage girls. With monthly-themed content, we update three times a day, five days a week, and are happy to offer you millions of bad puns. Click here to find out where to send stuff you’d like us to see. Learn about the people who write this thing here.”
“When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.”
"…today it’s shared by some researchers who question the value of safety-first playgrounds. Even if children do suffer fewer physical injuries — and the evidence for that is debatable — the critics say that these playgrounds may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone…
“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway…
By gradually exposing themselves to more and more dangers on the playground, children are using the same habituation techniques developed by therapists to help adults conquer phobias, according to Dr. Sandseter and a fellow psychologist, Leif Kennair, of the Norwegian University for Science and Technology.
“Teenagers are the hottest consumer demographic in America. At 33 million strong, they comprise the largest generation of teens America has ever seen—larger, even, than the much-ballyhooed Baby Boom generation. Last year, America’s teens spent $100 billion, while influencing their parents’ spending to the tune of another $50 billion.
But marketing to teens isn’t as easy as it sounds. Marketers have to find a way to seem real: true to the lives and attitudes of teenagers; in short, to become cool themselves. To that end, they search out the next cool thing and have adopted an almost anthropological approach to studying teens and analyzing their every move as if they were animals in the wild…
"What this system does is it closely studies the young, keeps them under constant surveillance to figure out what will push their buttons," says media critic Mark Crispin Miller. “And it blares it back at them relentlessly and everywhere.”“