Children's Literature Association Conference (ChLA) - Atlanta

I recently attended my first ChLA conference - shocking, I know! This conference is for the academic side of studying children's books. Scholars gather from all over the country (and the world) to share papers and discuss the evolution of the scholarship. This year's theme was "City in the Forest" since it was held in Atlanta. The obvious topic being about climate change; although these guidelines are always widely interpreted. My talk was called "Employing The Nature of Tricksters to Discuss Climate Change in Children’s Literature." I used three fantastic picture books to make my case: We are the Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade, published by Roaring Brook Press (2020); The Mess That We Made, written by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Julia Blattman, published by Flashlight Press (2020); and Our House is on Fire, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter, published by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (2019).
     Happily, my paper was in the very last time slot; although, it was better attended than I expected. (Despite my long history with children's books, I'm fairly new to academic conferences like this.) Here I am just before my talk:
Happily, I received some interest from an academic publisher after the event and we're having some exciting conversations. More on that later!
     The papers and presentations were fascinating. It's exciting to see better representation and awareness of the need for it being so adamently pursued. Of course, my favorite part of conferences is catching up with old and new friends—several attendees had been visiting academic-in-residence at Hollins University, so I knew quite a few.
     Next year's event will be all the way across the country in Seattle, so I'm not sure I'll be able to make that one; but it was an interesting and wonderful experince doing this one!

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