ChLA Wrap Up
When I arrived on Wednesday night to check in for the Children's Literature Association conference, they gave me my name tag and a little ribbon to add to it that said "FIRST TIME ATTENDEE." I fully expected them to give me an additional ribbon that said "INTERLOPER" as I knew full well that I was the only person there not in academia.
They gave me no such ribbon. So I had no outward marker to indicate my status for my fellow conference attendees, but that label was firmly fixed in my head the whole time. Even so, I plowed ahead ready to learn whatever I could from the deep wells of knowledge within this huge organization full of people from all over the country - all over multiple countries actually - whose careers are devoted to the study of children's literature. And, oh boy, did I enjoy drinking from this well. Water metaphors! (The theme of the conference was Refreshing Waters/Turbulent Waters.)
Actually, instead of one long drink from one deep well, this has been more like a tasting flight of scholarship. (The other thing I've been doing since I arrived in San Antonio is a self-guided cocktail tour which has nothing to do with children's literature but if you're curious, ask me some time about "sotol.") Mixing metaphors, I know. Just call me a mixologist.
What I mean to say is that there is a multitude of differing analytical frameworks, a wealth of foundational scholarship and interpretation, and endless thought-provoking questions from a variety of perspectives. Like ... an entire panel discussion on the mermaid as queer icon, close readings of several prominent picture books (i.e. Last Stop on Market Street and Julián is a Mermaid), critical examination of award criteria, analysis of metafictional texts and picture books, diversity and intersectionality through so many lenses, and so on. I have been sampling a little bit of a lot of things. And I'm so eager to dig in to further research.
I also caved and joined Twitter. (eye roll) I was hoping to avoid it though I can't even convincingly articulate precisely why. But I realized after this week just how many conversations on #kidlit are going on in the twittersphere. And I'm curious to see how those convos differ - in form, content, rhetoric, style - from the ones on "The Gram."
So follow me on Ye Ol Twitter, if you'd like. My handle is @TheBYLBookClub.
More to come. One month down and five months to go. Yipes!