Picture books published in the 1960s illustrate the many ways that this decade was a turning point in American children’s literature. Many people know e Snowy Day (1962) by Ezra Jack Keats, the first Caldecott Award-winning picture book about an African-American child. But later milestones by African-American writers are less familiar today, though Stevie (1969) by John Steptoe was featured in a Life magazine story about its young author titled “Realism in a Book about Black Children.” Using books from the Ballenger Teachers Center and her own collection of African-American youth literature, Kory will highlight the efforts of African-American writers, artists and activists to transform what was rightly described in 1965 as “the all-white world of children’s books.” Brownson will talk about the impact of the transformative work begun in the 1960s on the children’s literature available in the Ballenger Teachers Center.
Fern Kory is a professor of English whose research centers on African-American youth literature. She has published and presented on The Brownies’ Book (1920-21), a magazine for African-American children published by W.E.B. DuBois; Call Me Charley (1945), a ground-breaking novel about school integration; and (with Tim Engles) Walter Dean Myers’ award-winning young adult novel Monster (1999).
Ann Brownson is a reference and education librarian and professor who also coordinates collection development and other activities of the Ballenger Teachers Center. She has two master’s degrees from the University of Iowa, one in library and information science and one in postsecondary student development. Her interests outside work include gardening, home improvement, pets and travel.