Panelists to discuss race and identity in children's books

The University of Oregon’s Special Collections and University Archives, in partnership with Eugene Public Library, will present a virtual panel discussion on race and identity in children’s literature Oct. 28.

“Shifting the Narrative: A Conversation on Race & Identity in Children’s Books” will be available by livestream at 3 p.m.

Panelists will discuss how the genre has changed in the last two decades, how to bring fresh narratives and perspectives to the field, and how to deal with past racism. The event is co-sponsored by the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities and the National Historic Preservation Records Commission.

“I am really pleased to facilitate this conversation with contemporary children’s literature authors and scholars about the significance of race and identity in the genre,” said organizer Danielle Mericle, curator of visual resources for special collections. “These creators and critics are leading forces in moving young adult and children’s literature into anti-racism and reframing our understandings of racism in children’s literature history.”

Panel participants include moderator Elizabeth Wheeler, associate professor of English at the UO; Kimberly Johnson, UO vice provost for undergraduate education and author of juvenile literature; Debbie Reese, of the Pueblo of Nambé and founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature; and Chenoa and Keith Egawa, members of the Coast Salish of the Lummi and S'Klallam Nations and authors and illustrators of children’s literature.