Prizing Children's Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Prizing Children's Literature

The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards, 1st Edition

Edited by Kenneth B. Kidd, Joseph T. Thomas Jr.


248 pages

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Children's book awards have mushroomed since the early twentieth-century and especially since the 1960s, when literary prizing became a favored strategy for both commercial promotion and canon-making. There are over 300 awards for English-language titles alone, but despite the profound impact of children’s book awards, scholars have paid relatively little attention to them. This book is the first scholarly volume devoted to the analysis of Anglophone children's book awards in historical and cultural context. With attention to both political and aesthetic concerns, the book offers original and diverse scholarship on prizing practices and their consequences in Australia, Canada, and especially the United States. Contributors offer both case studies of particular awards and analysis of broader trends in literary evaluation and elevation, drawing on theoretical work on canonization and cultural capital. Sections interrogate the complex and often unconscious ideological work of prizing, the ongoing tension between formalist awards and so-called identity-based awards — all the more urgent in light of the "We Need Diverse Books" campaign — the ever-morphing forms and parameters of prizing, and scholarly practices of prizing. Among the many awards discussed are the Pura Belpré Medal, the Inky Awards, the Canada Governor General Literary Award, the Printz Award, the Best Animated Feature Oscar, the Phoenix Award, and the John Newbery Medal, giving due attention to prizes for fiction as well as for non-fiction, poetry, and film. This volume will interest scholars in literary and cultural studies, social history, book history, sociology, education, library and information science, and anyone concerned with children's literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction Kenneth B. Kidd and Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. 1. The Last Bastion of Aesthetics? The Influence of Conservative Value Systems on Cultural Gatekeeping Activities in Children’s Literary Awards Robert Bittner and Michelle Superle 2. Whose Prizes Are They, Anyway? The Case for Identity-Based Awards June Cummins 3. Peter’s Legacy: The Role of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award and ‘Melting Pot’ Books in Multicultural Children’s Literature Ramona Caponegro 4. The Pura Belpré Medal: Name-Branding Latino/a Children’s Literature Marilisa Jiménez Garcia 5. To Humanize the Inhuman: Award-Winning Children’s Nonfiction and the Monsters ofHistory Joe Sutliff Sanders, Katlyn M. Buckley, Kynsey M. Creel, and Charlie C. Lynn 6. Voicing Young Adults in Contemporary Fiction: The Alex Awards and the Popularity of the (Young) Adult Narrator J. D. Isip 7. The Guys are the Prize: Adolescent Fiction, Masculinity, and Australian Book Awards (2010-2013) Erica Hateley 8. Prizing the Already Prized: Systems of Value, Visibility, and Consecration in International and Translated Children’s Texts Abbie E. Ventura 9. Race and the Prizing of Children’s Literature in Canada Barbara McNeil 10. Strange Loops and Poetic Excellence: About 5,000 Words on The Lion and the Unicorn Poetry Award Michael Joseph and Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. 11. Archive Awards, or the Case of de Grummond’s Gold Emily Murphy 12. Prizing Popularity: How the Blockbuster Book Has Shaped Children’s Literature Rebekah Fitzsimmons 13. Finding Nominations: Children’s Films at the Academy Awards Peter C. Kunze 14. Prizing in the Children’s Literature Association Kenneth Kidd

About the Editors

Kenneth B. Kidd is Professor of English at the University of Florida, USA.

Joseph T. Thomas, Jr, is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, USA where he also serves as Director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature