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 topics. Join Fairfield University professors Betsy Bowen and Bryan Crandall 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. Betsy A. Bowen is Professor of English and Faculty Chair of Community-Engaged Learning at Fairfield University where she teaches courses on rhetoric, literacy, and children’s literature. Her research explores access to literacy among the last generation of Americans who were enslaved, using interviews collected by the Federal Writers’ Project. Some of that research is available on the “Reading Slavery, Writing Freedom” website.

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.

RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Registration includes a brief demographic survey that we are conducting to help better serve our community. Answers to demographic questions are optional and will be kept anonymous. Please complete these questions on behalf of the person attending the program/event.

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April 13
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT 06890 United States
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(203) 259-0346


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