2021 Follett-Butler Lecture

Dominican University’s School of Information Studies and Butler Children’s Literature Center present: 

Fantastic Black Girlhoods:
A Conversation with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Renée Watson

Join the School of Information Studies and the Butler Children’s Literature Center in conversation with children’s literature scholar and critic Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and award-winning author Renée Watson as they discuss the current moment in literature for black youth and how it fits into the larger body of youth literature. Topics explored include the adultification of black youth, representations of black joy, and diversity within diversity. They will also share their hopes and recommendations for the teachers and librarians sharing books with, and building collections for, all young people.

Monday, March 29, 2021 — 6p.m.
Presented Online
Registration opens in February

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas studies how people of color are portrayed, or not portrayed, in children’s and young adult literature, and how those portrayals shape our culture. She regularly reviews children’s books featuring diverse heroes and heroines, teens and tweens caught between cultures, and kids from the margins for the Los Angeles Times. She has a particular interest in young adult fantasy literature and fan culture. A former English and language arts teacher, Thomas also explores how teachers handle traumatic historical events, such as slavery, when teaching literature. Her most recent academic book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games (NYU Press, Spring 2019).

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her poetry and fiction often centers around the lived experiences of black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renée served as Founder and Executive Director of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, from 2016-2019.

Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently lives in New York City.

* Renée Watson photo credit: Shawnte Sims

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