- Editing Bookbird 1995–2001
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I was delighted to accept the editorship of Bookbird in 1995 because I was impressed with the conceptual framework of the journal, which celebrated cultural diversity as well as common human experiences. Bookbird provided a forum for authors to interpret their national literatures, to examine aesthetic values based on indigenous traditions, and to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue. I felt that I would be proud to have my name on such a quality publication. Jeffrey Garrett, the then editor, familiarized me with the publication procedure with the combined Fall/Winter 1995 issue, and I was ready to launch my first issue as editor with the Spring 1996 issue on Girls and Women. Although I was on my own, I am grateful to Jeff for his guidance and readiness to answer my many questions during the transition. To this and subsequent issues, I brought my enthusiasm for and expertise as a professor, scholar, and researcher of multicultural and international children's and adolescent literature, especially of South Asia and the African continent.
I retained the design of the journal and the format of the various columns because that is what had attracted me to Bookbird in the first place. However, my goal as editor was to extend the readership to include more professors of children's and adolescent literature by encouraging them to write for, read, and subscribe to Bookbird. In order to encourage research and maintain scholarly integrity, I established Bookbird as a refereed journal—that is, all the major articles were read by two experts in the area of the article (both regionally and theoretically), who were selected from a pool of scholars, associate editors of the IBBY national sections, librarians, educators, and publishers. I set up an elaborate process of first reading an article myself to see if it met the high standards of Bookbird in terms of the theme and analytical approach. If the article needed to be fleshed out, or if it raised questions that needed to be explored, I provided editorial guidance to the author on how the topic could be developed in greater depth. Once satisfied that it was a feasible article to pursue, I sent it to two experts in the field, who would then evaluate the article, suggest changes to the content if necessary, offer their theoretical perspectives, and identify where research was lacking in order to assist the author with the revision. Once [End Page 84] the article was revised and approved by the reviewers, it went through layers of editing by me and the senior copy editor, Susan Y. Clawson. Susan, in particular, looked at the technical and grammatical aspects of each article and ensured that the style, language, and usage were consistent throughout the issue. Working on each article was an exciting journey not only because I was curious about the direction that the article would take but also because of what it would reveal about the development of a specific theme in the children's literature of the country being examined.
This laborious procedure often took more than a year for an article to be published, and I typically worked on three issues of the journal simultaneously: finalizing the current issue and sending it to the printer; organizing the articles for the next issue, consolidating the reviewers' comments, waiting for the authors' revisions, or reading and editing the revised articles as they were submitted; and soliciting articles for yet another issue. I never had the luxury of indulging in the satisfaction of having completed an issue—apart from the initial euphoria of opening the package with the issue—because I had the next and the next issues to focus on!
The themes of the individual issues reflected scholarly interest in topics and sub-genres associated with international children's and adolescent literature, and they outlined the emerging trends regionally and globally, as well as discussed successes and challenges in order to seek solutions. Individual issues also focused on topics that needed greater attention such as Books for Children with Disabilities and Small and Alternative Publishers, or beamed the spotlight on countries whose publishing for young people...