Disrupting Youth Literature Symposium 2020

October 15 - 18, 2020

Join Us To:

Build on your understanding of youth literature as you pursue equity in your communities, classrooms, and on the bookshelf. This workshop will inform attendees’ ability to engage with children’s literature in ways that disrupt the status quo.

What You’ll Learn:

You will:

  • Foster competency-building with activities and discussions around key readings, including critical reviews.
  • Actively explore ways to read and work against one’s own biases.
  • Recognize and articulate issues of misrepresentation in literature.
  • Begin exploring the complexities of cultural competency to foster equity in communities, classrooms, and on the bookshelf.

Required readings:
The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo (provided with registration by 6/1/2020)
“Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (free access to article)

Attend If:

  • You work in the publishing industry. Editors, agents or publishing executives will deepen their understanding of these essential conversations in the industry.
  • You’re a writer or illustrator who is following this conversation on social media. This course will give you a better understanding of these conversations and give you ways to have needed conversations about your work.
  • You’re a MFA professor. In teaching writers, this workshop will help you explore ways to engage in conversation about these essential elements of the industry.
  • You’re teaching teachers. College professors who work with pre-service teachers can learn how to bring them into this important conversation.
  • You’re building a classroom library. This course will help teachers find ways to be inclusive with their choices and ways to talk about the books with students.
  • You’re an ally of the fight for correct cultural representation in children’s books. Librarians, media, booksellers, bloggers, book reviewers–all allies are welcome to join us and learn.

Find out more about this course in this video where Program Director Alison Green Myers talks about 2020 courses that will help novelists build their careers.


Our workshops typically include faculty presentations, hands-on exercises, specialty topic sessions, some level of feedback, and retreat time for working on your own projects. Although we don’t have a finished agenda for this course yet, see a sample agenda here to get an idea of what to expect.


Edith Campbell’s blog
Dr. Laura M. Jiménez’s blog
Dr. Debbie Reese’s 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot lecture
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color” by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. (Last year’s common read.)


“I learned so much from the team of experts that led this workshop. It was a life changing experience and I’m looking forward to the next workshop in this series of Essential Conversations.”

“I can’t believe they were all in one place for us to learn from. I registered because of the faculty-learning different things from each was important. The variety of expertise was powerful. The staff made us all feel comfortable too.”

“The faculty had to speak on topics that are uncomfortable for many to listen to; they did so in a way that was not threatening while not avoiding the tougher points.”

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop from the Essential Conversations fund:
Application deadline is August 15.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Edith Campbell

Edith Campbell is an assistant Education Librarian in the Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University. Edith currently serves as…
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Cristina Rhodes

Cristina Rhodes is an assistant professor of English at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses on academic writing,…
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Laura M. Jiménez

Laura M. Jiménez is the Department Chair for Language & Literacy Education at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education &…
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Yuyi Morales

Special Guest Yuyi Morales was born in Xalapa, Mexico, the city of flowers and springs. After migrating to the US…
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Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, a Notable Book for a Global Society and Notable Social Studies…
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Debbie Reese

Special SKYPE Guest Dr. Debbie Reese, PhD (@debreese) is an educator and author of the popular blog, American Indians in…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $999.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Begins on Thursday, October 15, with dinner, and ends on Sunday October 18, with lunch.