The “Other” is Not Other: Expanding Moral Boundaries in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Country: USA

City: Boston

Abstr. due: 10.01.2019

Dates: 23.05.19 — 26.05.19

Area Of Sciences: Humanities; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: American Literature Association


The “Other” is Not Other:  Expanding Moral Boundaries in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

For several years Children’s Literature has been expanding its boundaries to become a genre that reflects the diversity of our nation; although much more expansion is critically needed, we have seen more stories that explore socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and religious diversity.  And, there have been stories that look at historical events from multicultural perspectives—e.g, Jane Yolen’s 1992 picture book Encounter about Columbus “discovering” America from the point of view of a Native American child. 

This genre is continuing to expand, to stretch its boundaries to include the plight of children caught in terrifying situations created by current political conditions; e.g., picture books such as When the War Came by Nicola Davies dedicated to “children who are lost and alone, and to those who help them”; Maravan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias—also about a refugee child seeking safety; Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, and Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago—about a father and son trying to find their way to the United States. 

These powerful stories point to the way Children’s Literature is a leading moral voice illuminating the voice and plight of the “Other.” 

These panels will also consider how authors of children's literature convey the experience of what it is like to Other, including in one's own family, and what sorts of experiences and opportunities might be needed to help overcome even inadvertent "Otherings"

Two panels will explore these new worlds that affirm, insist on our shared humanity by sharing stories of children caught in the sorrows of the present.

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