Sunday, June 17, 2007

Checking in from the ChLA Conference 2

I was out walking amongst the fireflies (the single most wonderful thing about Smalltown) when I suddenly realized I never recapped Day Two of the Children's Literature Association conference. So here's what I found most interesting on Day Two:
  • A paper on why Christians in the U.S. object to the Harry Potter series. In short, this scholar chalked the objections up to: a) a general attitude in the U.S. that prose should be a window on the world and not imaginative and b) that many Christians in particular look to prose for instructions and fact.
  • A paper on the Narnia series and The Giver. The speaker argued that both texts could be read as steeped in Christian imagery and that the Narnia series was not any more heavy-handed or proselytistic than The Giver. I didn't agree with her, but the paper was well written, interesting, and the discussion was great.
  • One scholar (on a great panel on Multicultural Children's Books) argued that the "most effective [multicultural] books are ones that 'other' the white middle class reader." She used one of Jacqueline Woodson's books as a particularly good example of this technique.

It was a great conference overall. Highly recommended!