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  • From the Editors
  • Elizabeth Lennox Keyser (bio) and Julie Pfeiffer (bio)

Volume 28, appearing at the close of both a century and a millennium, marks the end of another era as well. It is the first volume to have been planned after the death of its founder, Francelia Butler, and the editors would like to dedicate it to her memory. As most readers of Children's Literature know, Francelia was a pioneer in the field of children's literature. Not only did she found this journal nearly thirty years ago but she was also instrumental in founding the organization it represents, the Children's Literature Association. Through these institutions, as well as her teaching, scholarship, and the National Endowment for the Humanities institutes she hosted at the University of Connecticut, Francelia touched hundreds, even thousands, of lives, including those of many contributors to this volume.

Each of us editors was influenced by her directly. Elizabeth Keyser was a participant in Francelia's first NEH institute for the study of children's literature in 1982, as were advisory board member Jan Alberghene and contributors Gillian Adams and Steve Canham. Elizabeth vividly remembers how, after the institute's opening reception, she and Gillian were spirited away to Francelia's gingerbread house for an impromptu supper. Fifteen years later Elizabeth again visited Mansfield Hollow where Francelia, despite a grueling round of chemotherapy, had organized a birthday party for Cynthia Wells, the Yale University Press editor of Children's Literature, and Eric Dawson, director of the Peace Games, which Francelia founded. Julie Pfeiffer and book review editor Chris Doyle, like contributor Anne Phillips, were graduate students at the University of Connecticut during Francelia's last days there, and they co-edited the last volume of Children's Literature to be produced at UConn. Former book review editor John Cech, author of a poem dedicated to Francelia that appears in these pages, belongs to an earlier generation of her students. Editor-in-Chief Richard Dillard knew Francelia when they were both graduate students at the University of Virginia, and we are delighted to publish his essay, which, among other things, recalls the beginning of her academic career. In a very real sense, Francelia has brought all of us—board members, consultants, editors, and contributors—together, for which we are extremely grateful. [End Page vii]

In recent years, Francelia turned her still-prodigious energy to battles (and we use the word advisedly) on two fronts. One was personal. As many readers know, Francelia lived far longer than anyone expected her to, given the virulent nature of her disease; time and again her cancer went into remission, seemingly because she willed it to do so. What kept her alive (to the astonishment of her medical advisors) was undoubtedly her larger battle, which, as Eric Dawson describes in "Francelia's Dream," was for nothing less visionary than world peace. Were Francelia still alive, she would be delighted by the articles in this volume that touch on or deal directly with the subject of peace education, from Peter Hollindale's discussion of the Quaker Anna Sewell's "plain speaking," to Penny Mahon's article on early peace educators ("Things by Their Right Name"), to Phyllis Bixler's account of the Lion and the Lamb Peace Center. But were Francelia with us as this volume goes to press, she would doubtless be appalled at the continuing violence in such places as Yugoslavia and East Timor. Francelia's vision of a world at peace, to which she dedicated the last years of her life, seems sadly more remote, though more desirable, than ever. She would not have despaired, however; nor, if we honor her legacy, should we.

In order to commemorate the end of the twentieth century, especially the past three decades, which, thanks in large part to Francelia's efforts, have been so rich for children's literature scholarship, we have asked Perry Nodelman, author of the influential The Pleasures of Children's Literature and Words About Pictures, to share with us his ruminations on the distinctive characteristics of children's literature (it is interesting to compare these with the thoughts of James Pettit Andrews, who, as Andrea Immel discusses...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3374
Print ISSN
0092-8208
Pages
pp. vii-x
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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