Debate and Controversy: Youth Literature in the Twenty-First Century

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From the time of the Puritans through the nineteenth century and to the present day, youth literature has evolved and shifted greatly. In the twenty-first century, children’s books and the topics they cover are often viewed as controversial. Join Fairfield University professor Bryan Crandall and colleagues Randall Austin and Latoya Lisle for a panel discussion on the pressing issues facing children’s books, as well as the debates they invite in contemporary popular culture.

This talk is produced as part of our Alphabets, Bedtime Stories, and Cautionary Tales: The Shaping of American Identity exhibition, on view through May 6, 2023.

Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall is Director of the Connecticut Writing Project and Associate Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at Fairfield University where he teaches literacy, philosophy, and action research courses, and runs teacher leadership institutes and young adult literacy labs. His scholarship includes the teaching of writing in diverse, inclusive settings, young adult literature, and K-12 professional development. He is recipient of a Divergent Award for Excellence from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research and an Elizabeth M. Pfriem Civic Leadership Award for his teacher and youth programming. He is co-producer and co-host of The Write Time, a National Writing Project show that unites teachers with children’s and young adult authors.

Randall Austin is Assistant Principal for Instruction at Kendall College and Career Academy in Norwalk. Prior to this role, Austin served as an Instructional Coach for Digital Learning at Kendall Academy, Rowayton Elementary School, and Roton Middle School. Austin holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport and a Master of Arts in Education from Sacred Heart University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Liberal Studies from SUNY Purchase College.

Latoya Lisle works as a

This exhibition and its related programming are supported by:

and Constance C. Baker Rare Book Fund

Pequot Library programs are held in person unless otherwise noted. 


April 13
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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