Minutes of the Children’s Literature Association Annual Membership Business Meeting

Minutes of the Children’s Literature Association
Annual Membership Business Meeting
Grande Ballroom II & III of the Kensington Court Conference Center
Hosted by Eastern Michigan University
Ann Arbor, Michigan - Saturday, June 12, 2010
The meeting was called to order by President Lisa Rowe Fraustino at 9:02 a.m. EST. The
members were welcomed by the President.
The minutes from last year’s June 13, 2009 Annual Membership Business Meeting hosted
by The University of North Carolina--Charlotte at The ImaginOn were distributed in this
year’s conference folder for the members’ perusal.
Motion Business Meeting 10.01. The minutes for the 2009 General Membership
Meeting at the ImaginOn in Charlotte, North Carolina should be approved.
The motion was made by Anne Phillips and seconded by Laureen Tedesco. The motion
Treasurer Jackie Stallcup announced that ChLA has grown to exactly one thousand
members! She called attention to key figures, remarking on the fact that the Association
has added $43,000 in assets. ChLA is quite healthy financially. The Board has decided that
more money will go into conferences and larger grants and awards. The Board, in
conjunction with the Treasurer, will propose keeping dues the same for another year.
Board officers will be glad to listen to suggestions for spending that advances the mission
of the Association in response to June Cummins’ question about future plans.
President Lisa Rowe Fraustino reported that the good financial news has put several plans
in motion. ChLA will sponsor some pre- or post-conference events at the Hollins
conference in June 2011. There is enhanced funding for research grants, exhibits at
museums, a graduate student consortia, and other initiatives. The Board has voted to
implement two new awards: a Phoenix-like picture book award and an award for an edited
collection of essays. The Board will be forming two new committees to define these awards
and create policy. The first committees will be appointed and then move to elected
positions with a chair and staggered terms. Lisa then announced that Kathy Kiessling’s
basement, the Association’s previous archival site, would undergo a major clean up as
materials are moved to the de Grummond Collection. Of benefit to members will be an
opportunity to obtain back issues of the CHLA Quarterly for $3 per issue plus shipping, and
issues of Children’s Literature will be half price, $10, or three issues for $25. Authors with
an article in an issue of the Quarterly may request copies of that issue for the cost of
postage only. Kathy will be sending ordering information electronically and in the
newsletter. Unrequested issues will be donated to libraries and appropriate places.
 2010 Update: Annette Wannamaker, co-organizer with Ian Wojcik-Andrews,
welcomed attendees and praised the hotel and conference center staff. She made a
few “housekeeping” announcements regarding a lost thumb-drive, the necessity of
leaving the meeting room thermostats alone, and proper distance when using a
microphone, followed by an expression of affection for the membership and their
participation that makes a conference a success.
 2011 Update: Amanda Cockrell announced that they are looking forward to
welcoming ChLA to Hollins University (Roanoke, VA) June 22-25 with a conference
theme of “Revolt, Rebellion, Protest: Change and Insurrection in Children’s
Literature.” The Francelia Butler lecture will be given by Julia Mickenberg and
Philip Nel, co-editors of Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s
Literature. The Phoenix winner Virginia Euwer Wolff will speak at the banquet.
Writers Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman will give a joint keynote address on the
fantasy genre.
 2012 Update: The conference will be held at Simmons College, Boston June 13-16.
The Board will approve their proposed theme at the October teleconference.
Phil Nel reported that the number of guaranteed panels given to ChLA by the Modern
Language Association has been reduced from two to one. MLA may accept more from ChLA
if the proposal has strong appeal. Co-sponsoring a panel with another group or division is
one way to enhance the likelihood of acceptance. The panels for 2011 will be “A Century of
The Secret Garden” and “Visions of the West: California in Ethnic Adolescent Literature.”
The second panel is an example of MLA’s acceptance of a second panel under the new
system. Phil reminded members that the Board is now asking for proposals prior to the
ChLA conference so that the Board would have time to read them before voting. This year
they were due the day before the conference started. He will welcome proposals next year
for the 2012 MLA.
a) Nominations and Elections (Mike Cadden/Michelle Martin) Outgoing Vice President Mike
Cadden alerted members to the list of new officers and Board members in their packets. He
urged everyone to nominate people for offices and committees, including making
suggestions for appointment to the two new committees. On-line voting has gone well for
the past two years, with numbers being approximate to those responding with paper
ballots. He introduced Michelle Martin as incoming Vice President/President Elect who will
oversee Nominations and Elections for the coming year.
b) Anne Devereaux Jordan Award (Anne Phillips) Anne remarked that this prestigious
award for service to the Association has now been given to 17 recipients. She is looking
forward to presenting it to Betsy Hearne tonight. She welcomed new members of her
committee and thanked the out-going chair Anne Lundin. Anne encouraged nominations
from the membership at any time for this award by contacting either Anne or Kathy
c) Graduate Essay Award (Adrienne Kertzer) Adrienne announced that the number of
submissions are increasing. This year there were 18 submissions at the MA level and five
at the doctoral level. She encouraged people to submit promising work. The essays are
read blind, and she thanked her sub-committee for their help. She will be presenting the
awards at tonight’s banquet. She reminded members that next year’s submissions are to be
d) Carol Gay Award (Mike Cadden) Mike commended the16 submissions the committee
received. He will give the award tonight to Melissa Filbeck. He asked faculty to submit
outstanding student work and thanked his committee.
e) Article Award (Kevin Shortsleeve for Joseph Thomas) Kevin announced that Jackie
Stallcup won the award for “’The Feast of Misrule’: Captain Underpants, Satire, and the
Literary Establishment.” An Honor designation went to Joe Sutliff Sanders for “Spinning
Sympathy: Orphan Girl Novels and the Sentimental Tradition.” Lisa Rowe Fraustino
thanked the reading committee.
f) Book Award (Ellen Donovan) Ellen commented on what a rich year it had been for books
in the field of children’s literature and alerted the membership to the committee’s list of
Books Recommended by the ChLA in the conference program. The book award went to
Leonard Marcus for Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of
American Children’s Literature. She thanked her hard-working committee who will start
reading 2009 imprint books. Ellen asked that members commend to the committee’s
notice books of that year.
g) Diversity (Michelle Pagni Stewart) Michelle thanked Michelle Martin and Kate Capshaw
Smith, outgoing members and founders of the committee and welcomed new members.
She commented on the wonderful diversity panel session last year. She told members to
watch for an announcement of next year’s panel topic that will include a respondent. The
Diversity Committee has a listserv and interested members can give their e-mail addresses
to Kate Capshaw Smith, who maintains it.
h) Grants (Susan Stan) Susan stated that the committee was able to give five grants for
faculty research and five Hannah Beiter grants that will be presented tonight at the
banquet. She thanked her committee. For 2010, the committee will have more money for
grants, and they’ll be fine-tuning the grant categories. Watch the ChLA website for further
information about applications that will be due in January 2011.
i) International (Kevin Shortsleeve) Kevin informed the membership that the committee
met together at the conference along with officers who made helpful suggestions. He
expressed pleasure with the international panel that focused on Russian children’s
literature yesterday. The conference next year will have a session focusing on Taiwan. He
is putting together a webpage with the history of the International Committee that will
share information on past scholars and sessions.
j) Phoenix Award (Leona Fisher) Leona showed the lovely Phoenix statue that will be
honoring Rosemary Sutcliff’s novel The Shining Company. She mentioned that it is the 25th
anniversary of the first Phoenix Award, which Rosemary Sutcliff had won as well. She
reminded members of the call for nominations for books published in 1995 and 1996 that
the committee will consider next.
k) Conference Planning (Roberta Trites) Roberta underscored the role of the committee in
helping make sure we have fabulous conferences like this one. The membership burst into
applause for Annette Wannamaker and Ian Wojcik-Andrews, this year’s organizers. The
Conference Planning Committee will be reducing rates automatically for student
participants rather than students having to apply for a reduction. They also plan to
underwrite conferences with 5% of membership dues to enhance the event. The 2013
conference will be held on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. She urged listeners to talk to a
Conference Planning Committee member or Kathy Kiessling if they might be interested in
hosting an upcoming conference.
l) Membership (Jennie Miskec) Jennie reminded the audience that the panels on building a
career and syllabus exchange are later today. She plans to have topics rotate on aspects of
building a career. Let her know if you have suggestions for future career panels.
m) Publications (Teya Rosenberg) Teya informed the membership that the primary mission
of her committee was dealing with permissions and book publishing programs. If anyone
should need further information, ask Teya. The ChLA Board just approved Frances Hodgson
Burnett’s The Secret Garden: A Children’s Classic at 100 edited by Jackie Horne and Joe Sutliff
Sanders as part of our centennial series to be published by Scarecrow Press. If you have
ideas about upcoming projects, send proposals to the Publications Committee. Karen
Patricia Smith, who is planning a future publication on Mary Grant Bruce’s A Little Bush
Maid, requests essays by scholars interested in the historical import of that text. An ad hoc
committee, chaired by Adrienne Kertzer, has been studying the book publishing program
and the Association’s relation to Scarecrow Press. At 2:30 p.m. today, there is a panel about
the recent survey on publication. Teya heartily thanked her committee and commended
their thoroughness and helpfulness. Adrienne added that the survey brought in responses
from 34% of our membership, which was higher than the rate of election response. There
was a drawing for a free membership for filling out the survey; Meghan Sweeney of UNCWilmington was the winner.
n) Publicity (Jackie Horne) Jackie announced that the committee continues to work on the
ChLA website. There is a lot of great information up there, so be sure to check it frequently.
She wants to make the website more visually exciting and appealing. The committee is
hoping to hire a professional designer. She solicited names from the membership of
appealing web designers.
o) Astrid Lindgren (Kathy Piehl) Kathy reminded the members that the Astrid Lindgren
Memorial Award is an international award for a children’s author, illustrator, or
organization. The prize is worth a half million dollars. The 2010 winner was Kitty
Crowther of Belgium. The organization has sent the names of Roberto Innocenti and Julius
Lester for 2011 in response to the voting that took place at last year’s conference. The
committee is now preparing nomination information for Walter Dean Meyers and
Mitsumasa Anno, selected by ChLA voters as part of the regular election process. Be sure to
give the committee other nominations for both national and international authors and
p) ChLA Newsletter (Tammy Mielke and Jennie Miskec) The co-chairs announced that they
are carrying on with the newsletter in both electronic and paper form. The audience
expressed gratitude.
q) Children’s Literature (Michelle Abate) Michelle announced that the latest volume was
mailed out about three weeks ago. She thanked outside readers and evaluators who help
with the editorial process. They are currently working on volume 39 and asked that
scholars send submissions.
r) Children’s Literature Association Quarterly (Kate Capshaw Smith) Kate says that the first
year at the University of Connecticut is going well. She thanked the Associate Editors and
Managing Editor Ivy Linton Stabell. Next up is a special issue on the “Impossibility of
Children’s Fiction”-- a look at the ideas of Jacqueline Rose 25 years later. She thanked
readers and submitters to the Quarterly.
a) Lorinda Cohoon announced that the 2003 El Paso ChLA conference organizer
Jacqueline Gmuca passed away. She asked that we memorialize her by remembering
the conference “Rainbows and Dreamcatchers.” Members should share a memory
or a dream about children’s literature tonight in order to honor Jackie, a gentle and
generous scholar.
b) Anne Phillips brought the membership’s attention to an upcoming issue of the
American Journal of Play on “Play and Literature” with contributions by several
ChLA scholars and edited by our own Mark West.
c) Priscilla Ord asked where the influx of money mentioned in the Treasurer’s report
came from. Jackie Stallcup explained that it stemmed from Project Muse royalties,
particularly from the digitalization of back issues. Children’s Literature Association
Quarterly is currently the #10 journal getting “hits” out of 405 journals on Project
The Presidential Address “The Great Excluded, Redux” was given by President Lisa Rowe
Fraustino to a standing ovation.
See Appendix A
In-coming President Mike Cadden thanked Lisa for her calm, clear leadership and skill in
facilitating the work of others. He gave her a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the
Motion Business Meeting 10.02. There being no further business, the meeting should
Kara Keeling moved to adjourn, and Annette Wannamaker seconded. The meeting was
adjourned at 10:15 a.m. EST.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathryn Graham
Children’s Literature Association 2010Annual Conference
Presidential Address delivered by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
June 12, 2010 - Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Michigan
The Great Excluded, Redux
Or, Lisa’s Presidential Address to the ChLA Membership
Once upon a time, with the ink still wet on my PhD diploma, I arrived at a little airport in
Missouri and saw a bright-eyed woman standing alone on the sidewalk waiting for a cab. I forget
which one of us asked, “Are you going to the ChLA conference?” but the answer was yes, and
my first ChLA friendship began with Kathy Elick of Bridgewater College in Virginia. (She’s not
in Ann Arbor with us, but I wish she were here so I could make her stand up and blush.)
To my shock and awe over the next few days, many other people befriended me, people
whose scholarship I had long admired and cited. Lois Kuznets invited me to dinner with Nancy
Huse and Norma Bagnall. We drank bottles of wine and I think they even paid. Little did I know
at the time that these designing women, these longtime ChLA pillars, had their eye on me as an
up-and-coming servant to the ChLA. Lois nominated me to run for the Phoenix Award
Committee, I got it, and I’ve been getting all sorts of jobs for the ChLA ever since.
In the little airport on the way home from Missouri, a bunch of easterners got stranded for
several hours with flight delays due to stormy weather. I discovered myself sitting all doe-eyed
between Hannah Beiter on one side and Elizabeth Keiser on the other. There, my interview as
“new talent” continued, only this time they weren’t recruiting me into the service of ChLA. They
were genuinely curious about my work. As some of you know, I came to the ChLA from a
different place than most, that is, from the intersection of creative writing theory and literary
criticism. In fact, I have a few Advance Reading Copy samplers from my next book here to give
out if you’re interested. [The Hole in the Wall, Milkweed Editions, Fall 2010)]
My PhD dissertation was a young adult novel called Ash, which may have been the first
of its kind. Hannah and Elizabeth wanted to know all about it and how it came to be that SUNYBinghamton permitted me to do such an outrageous thing. I explained that I had been admitted to
the traditional PhD program with a proposal to write a dissertation on The Child in
Contemporary Literature. Once admitted, I did slog through the centuries in my coursework, as
then required, but I also took a creative writing workshop and developed relationships with the
writing faculty. Eventually I was able to convince Liz Rosenberg to direct a creative dissertation,
and I rustled (or wrestled?) up a committee of others willing to come to my defense. Because the
graduate curriculum at Binghamton didn’t serve children’s literature, I pursued my area of
specialty through independent studies.
It was a story rife with conflict and a spunky female character obstinately overcoming
obstacles usually involving the word “No.” In my role as a Teaching Assistant, I was assigned to
teach a Lit & Comp course on a topic of my choosing. I chose Subversive Children’s Literature,
using Alison Lurie’s then-new book, and my section was the most popular course on campus two
semesters running in the days before online registration, with hundreds of students lining up in
the hall to sign up for 25 seats. The overwhelmed English Department said, “No, no, no, you
can’t do that anymore,” but as my consolation prize they did let me teach Introduction to
Creative Writing, which I also loved.
Elizabeth and Hannah both listened to my tale with great interest. It had a happy
ending—the day I arrived home from my defense, fully doctored, I received a phone call from
the editor of my first novel at Orchard Books, Harold Underdown, making an offer on my new
book. Ash went on to be named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library
Association, which came as a big relief to Liz, I can tell you, as she was able then to hold her
dissertation-advising head high in the English Department as she said “nya-nya-na-na-na” to her
skeptical colleagues and continued mentoring children’s writers. The next one happened to be
my longtime friend Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Sue completed her nonfiction essay Black
Potatoes as her PhD dissertation, which went on to win the ALA Sibert Medal. By that time I
had known Sue for years; we exchanged our work regularly; and I can say without a doubt that
what she learned at Binghamton made it possible to write that book and to continue writing
books of exceptionally high caliber. Her scholarship is simply impeccable.
But Sue needs a library card…and that leads me to my first Presidential Point.
As scholars with access to academic libraries, perhaps we take for granted our privileges.
The library at my university, for example, has very limited holdings in my research areas;
however, I can request books from other campuses in the Connecticut State University System
and have them delivered within a day or two. I can Interlibrary Loan just about anything at no
cost to myself. If our library does have a book I want, I may check it out for an entire semester—
and I may renew it indefinitely until someone else asks for it. Borrowed CSU campus books and
even ILL books often have lengthier check-out times for us with academic library cards than are
available to patrons at many public libraries. Furthermore, I have access to research grants
funded by my university for travel to archives. These are just a few ways that academics have
access to resources that contribute to accurate and thorough research, access that many children’s
book authors and illustrators lack.
Writers often tell me they struggle to obtain the references they need to do a thorough
job—and artists researching images, too. They ask for favors from friends in academia, if they
have them. And they spend a lot of their own money. Publishers rarely fund this kind of research
in advance unless the author has significant stature and a profitable track record. And the same
problem applies to certain genres or subjects in fiction. A work of historical fiction, for instance,
requires at least as much research as the same topic in nonfiction. The way the publishing world
works today, a new author who hopes to have her book published will have to complete a
manuscript that’s almost ready for the copy editor in order to obtain a contract.
So here is my plea to you privileged academics in the ballroom. Is there something that
the ChLA can do to assist the very researchers whose creative works we study? The Board has
just begun discussing the possibility of an author-illustrator research grant program. We are open
to other ideas and would love to hear them from you.
Now, getting back to the little airport in Missouri… That day after hearing about my
work, Elizabeth Keiser told me about a project of her own. She, along with others at Hollins, at
the bequest of Francelia Butler, had just developed a unique graduate program offering both
critical and creative courses in children’s literature during intensive six-week summer sessions.
Hollins was looking for someone to teach a course on the young adult novel. Would I be
interested in submitting a proposal? Well, yes, yes I would, and I did, and I taught my first
course in the Modern Young Adult Novel in the summer of 1995. The next summer I returned to
teach a creative writing workshop. And I’ve been returning most summers ever since to teach a
variety of critical and creative courses. I do so partly because I remain smitten with that
community of scholars in those gorgeous magnolia-scented hills, but that’s not the only reason. I
also return because Hollins is the only program that offers the opportunity to focus on what I do
The ChLA used to have a subtitle, “The Great Excluded.” And children’s literature
specialists remain excluded by many English Departments at prominent universities, as we all
know. Look around and see who’s missing… Still, we have made long strides toward widespread
inclusion, and we certainly have earned the respect we deserve from various quarters, including
the MLA. The same cannot be said for creative writing in children’s literature, I’m afraid.
When I decided to go on the academic job market in 2001, I sent out 14 applications, 7 of
them for positions in teaching children’s literature in English Departments and 7 of them for
positions teaching creative writing. By that time I had published four critically acclaimed books
for children or young adults as well as numerous essays and short stories, some of them for
grown-ups, including a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award winner. Can you guess the outcome?
With my creative PhD dissertation that became an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, I got 7
interviews to teach children’s literature and zero to teach creative writing.
In the ivory towers creative writing and children’s literature have both been marginalized.
Writing for children is doubly marginalized. In fact, back at Binghamton one of the Very
Famous professors in creative writing once said, “There’s no such thing as writing for children.”
I didn’t take his class.
In recent years, as you probably know, there has been a profusion of brief-residency
MFA programs in creative writing popping up all over the place, and some of them include
writing for children. These brief-residency MFA programs tend not to include the study of
literature from a critical perspective, but focus instead on the workshop model of developing
craft, pairing students up with writing mentors. Students in these programs do learn a great deal
about creative writing, and along the way they may even become well read, but they don’t
necessarily dig in to the theoretical and cultural issues students become immersed in during a
“regular” full-time program on a campus. They certainly wouldn’t instruct a Susan Campbell
Bartoletti in the patterns of research and thought that led to the writing of a book like her recent
Newbery Honor book Hitler Youth.
There will always be a place for brief residency MFA programs in craft just because of
people’s schedules, and because some creative writers dislike academics. But for those up-andcoming writers who do have a critical bent, like myself, like my friend Claudia Mills, and many
others, there would be a demand and also a disciplinary value in offering graduate programs in
creative writing for children comparable to the graduate programs in creative writing for adults.
Ultimately such programs could have an important role in improving the quality of the literature
being published for young readers. So please think about this if your department gets the chance
to expand, adapt, or hire ever again. At the very least you are guaranteed to attract talented
applicants with publications and terminal degrees from the untapped brief-residency MFA pool.
And now I am finished using my soap box, so I will step down from it, and from the
Presidency of the ChLA, with gratitude for having all of you as friends and colleagues.