Gryphon Lecture

The Gryphon Lecture is given annually during spring semester and features a leading scholar in the fields of youth literature, media, and/or culture. Gryphon Lectures are free and open to students and the public. A reception to discuss issues raised, network across departments, and meet with the speaker follows each lecture. Illinois educators are eligible to receive professional development credits for participation.

2021 Gryphon Lecture | Matthew Grenby

Going Global: Transnational Networks and the Spread of Early Modern Children’s Books

April 15, 2021 | 12:00 PM CST via Zoom

Books designed especially for children, either for their instruction or entertainment, began to be produced in a number of European countries from the seventeenth century. These children’s books, in various genres and formats, circulated around Europe, and there are striking cross-national continuities as well as interesting regional differences. What is perhaps most remarkable, however, is the global dissemination of these books, across the Atlantic to the Americas, but also along colonial, trading and missionary routes to South and South-East Asia. This paper will trace some of this largely unknown literary history, from c.1700 to c.1850, making the case for the importance of children’s books to the development of transnational networks of print.

2020 Gryphon Lecture | Sarah Park Dahlen

(Re)Presenting Korea: The Carpenters and the White American Imaginary

November 12, 2020 | 4:30 PM CST via Zoom

Frances Carpenter was a 20th century writer who authored several children’s books that were partially influenced by her travels with her father, Frank Carpenter, a journalist and travel writer. In 1908, they visited Korea while Japan was in the process of annexing the country. This trip and her continuing interest in Korea thereafter, likely inspired her writing of the children’s folktale collection, Tales of a Korean Grandmother (1947). This book, in turn, inspired Newbery Award winner Linda Sue Park to write Seesaw Girl, her first chapter book. Based partly on materials analyzed from the Carpenters’ archives at the Library of Congress and Smith College, Frances Carpenter’s alma mater, Dahlen hypothesizes that Carpenter wrote compassionately about Koreans, despite the larger geopolitical context in which she published, because of her visits to Korea and experiences with Korean people. There is virtually no scholarship on Frances Carpenter and her father Frank Carpenter, despite the influence their writings had in connecting midcentury American readers with cultures and peoples outside the country that is now known as the United States. This research therefore fills a gap in Asian American children’s literature research and maps the connections between writers of Asian American youth literature in different time periods.

2019: “Taking a Teen-Centric Approach to Adolescent Online Safety”
Presented by Dr. Pamela Wisniewski, Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida and 2018-2020 iSchool Research Fellow.

2018: “The Forever Fandom of Harry Potter: Fan Fiction, Festivals, and Charitable Works”
Presented by Dr. Marianne Martens, Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University.

2017: “Check the Rhyme: Harnessing Hip Hop’s Enduring Literacies with Youth in Libraries”
Presented by Dr. Kafi Kumasi, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science (LIS) at Wayne State University.

2016: “The True Story of Teens and Social Media: Using Teen-Centered Research to Break Down Pervasive Stereotypes”
Presented by Dr. Denise Agosto, Professor of Information Science at Drexel University.

2015: “Research on Children, Youth and Media: Applications for LIS Education and Practice” 
Presented by Dr. Rebekah Willett, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2014: “Augusta Baker and the Art of Storytelling: Gateway to Children’s Literacy and Literature”
Presented by Dr. Michelle Martin, the inaugural Augusta Baker Endowed Chair of Children’s Literacy at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina.

2013: “Paradoxically Speaking: Just One of the Ways Children’s Folktales Engage Listeners”
Presented by Dr. Brian Sturm, Associate Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2012: “Grounding Our Perspectives in Children’s Literature”
Presented by Dr. Margaret Mackey, Professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.

2011: “Books Build Better Brains: Wanderings at the Intersection of Children’s Literature and Early Brain Development”
Presented by Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, pediatrician at Madison’s American Family Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health.

2010: “Children’s Search Experiences in the Age of Google, Today and Tomorrow”
Presented by Dr. Allison Druin, Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and an Associate Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies.

2009: “What’s So Funny About Children’s Literature?”
Presented by Dr. Karen Coats, Director of English Education at Illinois State University and current reviewer for the Bulletin.

2008: “‘Because really they only have a few books I like…’ Why Reading Teens Don’t Use Libraries
Presented by Dr. Lynne McKechnie, Beverly Cleary Professor in Services and Literature for Youth at the Information School at the University of Washington and Professor at the Faculty for Information & Media Studies, University of Western Ontario.

2007: “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”
Presented by Roger Sutton, Editor-in-Chief of The Horn Book Magazine, former Editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

2006: “Stony the Road We Trod : African American Children’s Literature, Stories of a People’s Journey”
Presented by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Faculty Emeritus, School of Teaching and Learning, Ohio State University.

2005: “Becoming What You Eat: Identifying with Food in Children’s Picture Books”
Presented by Perry Nodelman, Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg. No audio available.