By Lethbridge Herald on November 26, 2020.
“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” So begins Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece about a young girl’s fantastical adventures in a strange land. Young Alice clearly has her own opinion on what makes a book “useful,” and when Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865, he ushered in a new era of writing for children, aiming to entertain his readers in a way that aligned with Alice’s criteria.
Thursday night, University of Lethbridge English professor Elizabeth Galway will present “What’s So Childish about Children’s Stories? Exploring the Complex World of Literature for Young Readers.” This is the third regular talk of the 2020-21 season for the Faculty of Arts & Science’s PUBlic Professor Series. The free event is open to the public and will be broadcast Live on Zoom, starting at 7 p.m.
The talk will go “down the rabbit hole” to explore some of the ways in which children’s texts engage with issues that are not just relevant to young people, but that are of key concern to the adults who influence all aspects of children’s literature, from writing, to illustrating, to publishing.
Drawing on her research into themes of imperialism and nationalism in 19th-century British and Canadian children’s literature, as well as her research on material produced for young readers during the First World War, Galway will uncover some of the complexities within children’s literature and show that it is not time to “put away childish things” but to bring them back into the light and give them the second look they deserve.ÊÊ
Galway is an associate professor and former Chair of English at the U of L. She is a co-founder of the Institute for Child and Youth Studies and has served as one of its directors since 2018. Her research focuses on children’s literature from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and she is particularly interested in its role in shaping identity. She is the author of “From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood: Children’s Literature and the Construction of Canadian Identity” (Routledge 2008) and is finishing a monograph on British, Canadian and American children’s literature from the First World War.
Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and she is working on a co-authored, SSHRC-funded study of representations of the ancient Near East in children’s literature from the 19th century to the present.
Registration for Thursday’s talk is required and attendees are asked to register for this event at https://pps-galway.eventbrite.ca to receive secure access information prior to the talk.
All those who register and attend will be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards to the Italian Table.