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A Slave's Tale Cover

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A Slave's Tale

Erik Christian Haugaard

A Slave’s Tale, the sequel to Hakon of Rogen’s Saga, is told from the point of view of a slave girl, Helga, who stows away on the longship when Hakon, the young Viking chieftain, sets sail for France on a voyage to return Rark, a freed slave, to his homeland. The voyagers’ journey is perilous—they narrowly escape capture by an invading fleet, and their ship is severely damaged by a storm. Upon reaching France—where the Vikings are now hated, not feared—only tragedy ensues.

Slavery in American Children's Literature, 1790-2010 Cover

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Slavery in American Children's Literature, 1790-2010

Paula T. Connolly

Long seen by writers as a vital political force of the nation, children’s literature has been an important means not only of mythologizing a certain racialized past but also, because of its intended audience, of promoting a specific racialized future. Stories about slavery for children have served as primers for racial socialization. This first comprehensive study of slavery in children’s literature, Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790–2010, also historicizes the ways generations of authors have drawn upon antebellum literature in their own re-creations of slavery. It examines well-known, canonical works alongside others that have ostensibly disappeared from contemporary cultural knowledge but have nonetheless both affected and reflected the American social consciousness in the creation of racialized images.

Beginning with abolitionist and proslavery views in antebellum children’s literature, Connolly examines how successive generations reshaped the genres of the slave narrative, abolitionist texts, and plantation novels to reflect the changing contexts of racial politics in America. From Reconstruction and the end of the nineteenth century, to the early decades of the twentieth century, to the civil rights era, and into the twenty-first century, these antebellum genres have continued to find new life in children’s literature—in, among other forms, neoplantation novels, biographies, pseudoabolitionist adventures, and neo-slave narratives.

As a literary history of how antebellum racial images have been re-created or revised for new generations, Slavery in American Children’s Literature ultimately offers a record of the racial mythmaking of the United States from the nation’s beginning to the present day. 

Song of My Life Cover

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Song of My Life

A Biography of Margaret Walker

by Carolyn J. Brown

Margaret Walker (1915–1998) has been described as “the most famous person nobody knows.” This is a shocking oversight of an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, educator, and activist as well as friend and mentor to many prominent African American writers. Song of My Life reintroduces Margaret Walker to readers by telling her story, one that many can relate to as she overcame certain obstacles related to race, gender, and poverty.

Walker was born in 1915 in Birmingham, Alabama, to two parents who prized education above all else. Obtaining that education was not easy for either her parents or herself, but Walker went on to earn both her master’s and doctorate. from the University of Iowa. Walker’s journey to become a nationally known writer and educator is an incredible story of hard work and perseverance. Her years as a public figure connected her to Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Alex Haley, and a host of other important literary and historical figures.

This biography opens with her family and those who inspired her—her parents, her grandmother, her most important teachers and mentors—all significant influences on her reading and writing life. Chapters trace her path over the course of the twentieth century as she travels to Chicago and becomes a member of the South Side Writers’ Group with Richard Wright. Then she is accepted into the newly created Masters of Fine Arts Program at the University of Iowa. Back in the South, she pursued and achieved her dream of becoming a writer and college educator as well as wife and mother. Walker struggled to support herself, her sister, and later her husband and children, but she overcame financial hardships, prejudice, and gender bias and achieved great success. She penned the acclaimed novel Jubilee , received numerous lifetime achievement awards, and was a beloved faculty member for three decades at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Teller's Tale Cover

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The Teller's Tale

Lives of the Classic Fairy Tale Writers

Intriguing, updated portraits of classic fairy tale authors. This book offers new, often unexpected, but always intriguing portraits of the writers of classic fairy tales. For years these authors, who wrote from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, have been either little known or known through skewed, frequently sentimentalized biographical information. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were cast as exemplars of national virtues; Hans Christian Andersen’s life became—with his participation—a fairy tale in itself. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, the prim governess who wrote moral tales for girls, had a more colorful past than her readers would have imagined, and few people knew that nineteen-year-old Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy conspired to kill her much-older husband. Important figures about whom little is known, such as Giovan Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, are rendered more completely than ever before. Uncovering what was obscured for years and with newly discovered evidence, contributors to this fascinating and much-needed volume provide a historical context for Europe’s fairy tales.

Telling Children's Stories Cover

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Telling Children's Stories

Narrative Theory and Children's Literature

Edited by Mike Cadden

The most accessible approach yet to children’s literature and narrative theory, Telling Children’s Stories is a comprehensive collection of never-before-published essays by an international slate of scholars that offers a broad yet in-depth assessment of narrative strategies unique to children’s literature. The volume is divided into four interrelated sections: “Genre Templates and Transformations,” “Approaches to the Picture Book,” “Narrators and Implied Readers,” and “Narrative Time.” Mike Cadden’s introduction considers the links between the various essays and topics, as well as their connections with such issues as metafiction, narrative ethics, focalization, and plotting. Ranging in focus from picture books to novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird, from detective fiction for children to historical tales, from new works such as the Lemony Snicket series to classics like Tom’s Midnight Garden, these essays explore notions of montage and metaphor, perspective and subjectivity, identification and time. Together, they comprise a resource that will interest and instruct scholars of narrative theory and children’s literature, and that will become critically important to the understanding and development of both fields.

Threads from the Web of Life Cover

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Threads from the Web of Life

Stories in Natural History

Stephen Daubert

In sixteen stories Steve Daubert pulls the reader into the mystery and immediacy of ecological processes spanning a range from microscopic to tectonic, from microscopic to cosmic forces. Each tale brings the reader into the moment to witness an episode of survival in the wild first-hand. The material is presented on a level of intimacy and detail not usually encountered in other styles of natural history writing. These creative non-fiction stories provide not just a bird’s eye view (though that’s true for the owls, warblers, condors, and hummingbirds in the book), but a wasp’s eye view, a mouse’s, a sea turtle’s, a squid’s. Sometimes the focus is as small as the detritus on the forest floor, or a single beat of the wing of a gull. Other stories range across evolutionary time. From whales and dinosaurs to creatures invisible to the naked eye, author and illustrator bring to life the dynamic interplay of living, evolving creatures and the natural forces that have shaped their worlds. The book includes chapter notes that document the scientific basis for each story and describe the controversies still surrounding some of them – a splendid resource for families to read and share.

Time of Beauty, Time of Fear Cover

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Time of Beauty, Time of Fear

The Romantic Legacy in the Literature of Childhood

James Holt McGavran, Jr.


It is now two and a half centuries since Jean-Jacques Rousseau first wrote so evocatively of natural man in Social Contract and of experiential education in Emile. His emphasis on the early years as a crucial part of life drove the Romantic reconceptualization of childhood—the idea that children have a special knowledge of nature, politics, and spirituality to teach their elders as well as the other way around. William Wordsworth’s assertion in the “Intimations Ode” that children’s souls come “trailing clouds of glory” from God has continued to haunt Western literature and culture in spite of attacks from writers and critics from then until now, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Thomas Malthus, T. S. Eliot, Judy Blume, Jerome McGann, and Jacqueline Rose.
Displaying careful scholarship, sophisticated use of contemporary literary theory, and close readings of texts while recovering and analyzing materials from more than two centuries of British and other Anglophone cultural history, this collection of new essays traces the evolution of the Romantic child. The contributors play off one another, both within the three traditional historical periods—Romantic, Victorian, and modern/postmodern—and across intellectual and disciplinary categories.
Time of Beauty, Time of Fear offers a stunning array of essays. In some, the authors focus on canonical texts by such writers as Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Smith, and Mrs. Molesworth. Other authors consider the Victorian concerns with missionary literature for children and with the boyish pastime of collecting bird’s nests, folk voices of the 1960s, homeschooling, the Teletubbies television program, and Alan Moore’s Promethea series of graphic novels. Measured in terms of both range and quality, this volume is destined to become essential reading for scholars from numerous disciplines.
Jennifer Smith Daniel
Elizabeth A. Dolan
Richard Flynn
Elizabeth Gargano
Mary Ellis Gibson
Dorothy H. McGavran
Roderick McGillis
Claudia Mills
Jochen Petzold
Malini Roy
Andrew J. Smyth
Jan Susina


To Keep the South Manitou Light Cover

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To Keep the South Manitou Light

Anna Egan Smucker

Set on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during the fall of 1871, To Keep the South Manitou Light tells the fictional tale of a twelve-year-old girl named Jessie, whose family has been taking care of the lighthouse on the island for generations. Jessie’s mother has kept the light by herself since Jessie’s grandfather died of a heart attack ten days before the story begins. Afraid her family will lose the lighthouse, Jessie decides not to mail her mother’s letter informing the Lighthouse Service of her grandfather’s death and instead puts it in one of her mother’s canning jars and tosses it into the lake. Later, as a fierce November ice storm hits the island, the repercussions of this action will not only teach Jessie about honor and responsibility but will also give her hard-earned insight into what it means to be brave. Written for children between the ages of 8 and 12, To Keep the South Manitou Light provides regional history along with everyday lessons, all while engrossing young readers in an exciting story.

Twain, Alcott, and the Birth of the Adolescent Reform Novel Cover

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Twain, Alcott, and the Birth of the Adolescent Reform Novel

Trites argues that Twain and Alcott wrote on similar topics because they were so deeply affected by the Civil War, by cataclysmic emotional and financial losses in their families, by their cultural immersion in the tenets of Protestant philosophy, and by sexual tensions that may have stimulated their interest in writing for adolescents, Trites demonstrates how the authors participated in a cultural dynamic that marked the changing nature of adolescence in America, provoking a literary sentiment that continues to inform young adult literature. Both intuited that the transitory nature of adolescence makes it ripe for expression about human potential for change and reform.

Two, Two Lily-White Boys Cover

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Two, Two Lily-White Boys

Geoffrey Clark

Two, Two, Lily-White Boys follows the fortunes of two 14-year-old Scouts from Ermine Falls—Larry Carstairs, the narrator, and Andy Dellums, Larry's schoolmate and friend—over the course of six days at Camp Greavy, a Boy Scout camp not far from Traverse City, Michigan. The story’s catalyst and Andy’s tormentor is Russell “Curly” Norrys, a worldly, charismatic 17-year-old, a homophobe who suspects that Andy is a homosexual. Mercurial, protean, possibly sociopathic, Curly engineers conflicts that accelerate as the days wear on, eventually culminating in tragedy. Passive-aggressive Larry, moved to action at last, must choose between self-preservation and justice.

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