40th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference
Play and Risk in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture
Hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi
June 13-15, 2013
The 40th Annual Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference will address play and risk in children’s and young adult (YA) literature and culture. Much of John Newbery’s A Pretty Little Pocket-Book, one of the first books to mark the emergence of children’s literature as a successful commercial enterprise, is devoted to teaching the alphabet through play and games. Innovators of children’s literature have taken risks in building businesses or careers around the notion of pleasurable works for children, just as the scholars who gathered for the first ChLA convention in 1974 and those who followed have taken risks to establish the professional study of the “Great Excluded.” Thus, from its beginnings as both literary and scholarly enterprise, children’s literature has been linked with play and risk. Many classic and contemporary works for young people represent children or young adults entertaining themselves or taking chances. The March sisters put on plays in Little Women, and Beth risks her own life to care for the Hummel baby; Alice plays croquet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and risks losing her head; Peter and Wendy play house in Peter Pan and risk being killed or kidnapped by Captain Hook. Play and risk are everywhere in children’s and YA literature and culture.