Department of English
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave.
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9
Fax: (204) 774-4134
I received my Ph.D. as a specialist in Victorian literature from Yale (1969 — I did a dissertation on the poetry of Tennyson-- but since about 1975 I've concentrated on teaching and writing about children's literature (for further information about why, see the article in the University of Winnipeg Alumni Journal). I taught in the English department at the University of Winnipeg for 37 years, from 1968 to 2005, and am now Professor Emeritus. I've published about a hundred or so articles on various aspects of children's literature in scholarly journals, many of them focussing on literary theory as a context for understanding books for children. I've also written three books on the subject: Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children's Picture Books, The Pleasures of Children's Literature, a textbook used in universities across North America and elsewhere (I wrote the latest, third edition of Pleasures in collaboration with Mavis Reimer), and The Hidden Adult: Defining Children's Literature. Words about Pictures has been translated into Greek. Pleasures has been translated into Chinese for use in Taiwan and also into Korean. I have been Editor of two academic journals, the Children's Literature Association Quarterly for five years (1983-87), and CCL/LCJ, the Canadian children's literature journal for five years (2004-2008). I have also been President of the Children's Literature Association, and currently serve on the Editorial Boards of Jeunesse, IRCL, and The Journal of Children's Literature Studies.
As a writer of children's and young adult fiction, I've written four novels: The Same Place But Different, a fantasy, its sequel A Completely Different Place, a comic satire, Behaving Bradley, and most recently Not a Nickel to Spare: the Great Depression Diary of Sally Cohen, a novel about the Christie Pits Riots in Toronto in 1933 in Scholastic Canada's Dear Canada series. In collaboration with Carol Matas I've also written a series of four fantasy novels for young adults: Of Two Minds, More Minds, Out of Their Minds, and A Meeting of Minds, and more recently, the Ghosthunter trilogy: The Proof that Ghosts Exist, The Curse of the Evening Eye, and The Hunt for the Haunted Elephant.
I am working towards a book-length study of fiction for children and young adults that make use of alternating narratives: the intertwining of stories about and/or told from the point of view of two, three, four, or more characters. While a counter-intuitive form of storytelling for those who believe that young readers need and like stories with one central character they can identify with or relate to, I've found over three hundred texts published over the last few decades that feature alternating narratives. The purpose of my study is to try to account for why so many recent writers have chosen to write texts of this sort, and to consider what effect the use of alternation has on the meaning and significance of the texts, and especially, how it relates to the typical characteristics of conventional texts for young readers that I outlined in The Hidden Adult.
I am also currently working on smaller projects on the novels of David Almond; the picture books and films of Frank Tashlin; graphic novels and their relationships to children's picture books; and depictions of aboriginality in Barrie's Peter Pan and later texts based on it.
I am also working on Little Lord Stink, a novel about the last expedition of the explorer Henry Hudson.
- The Pleasures of Children's Literature (in collaboration with Mavis Reimer)
- Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children's Picture Books
- The Hidden Adult: Defining Children's Literature
- A Meeting of Minds (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- Out of Their Minds (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- Behaving Bradley
- More Minds (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- A Completely Different Place
- Alice Falls Apart
- Of Two Minds (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- The Same Place But Different
- Not a Nickel to Spare: the Great Depression Diary of Sally Cohen
- The Proof the Ghosts Exist (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- The Curse of the Evening Eye (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
- The Hunt for the Haunted Elephant (in collaboration with Carol Matas)
Full List of Publications
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