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ChLA 2020 Conference

Dr. Michelle Martin has forwarded us a sneak peek into the 2020 Children's Literature Association, which will be hosted in Bellevue next June! The Save the Date can be found here!



ChLA 2020 Conference

Sustainability Through Story:

Eco-Justice, Children’s Literature, and Childhood

June 18-20, 2020

Hyatt Regency Bellevue

Bellevue, Washington


Critical issues related to ecological justice figure prominently in today’s literature for children and young adults, from picture book biographies of Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, to Jaden Anthony’s graphic novel series Kid Brooklyn, to middle readers like Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan, to young adult novels like Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. Real-life child activists such as nine-year-old Ridhima Pandey in India and thousands of schoolchildren across the UK are fighting back and going on strike to save their planet. These real and fictional children promote eco-justice as they transform the politics of climate change and the results of settler colonialism by creating new green movements throughout the world.


Washington State, also known as the Evergreen state, is home to twenty-nine federally-recognized Native American tribes. The University of Washington, which sits on the land of the Coast Salish peoples, land that touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations, invites ChLA conference attendees to the Emerald City (Seattle & Bellevue)--an area known for its commitment to eco-activism--to consider how the environment has been portrayed in children's literature. We open this Call for Papers to an expansive array of interdisciplinary topics on the cultural and political impact of children’s literature--past and present, including works from the visual and performing arts as potential subjects of critique. While topics of interest related to children’s literature, children’s culture, childhood studies, and related fields are always welcome, we invite scholars to give particular consideration to the following topics:

  • Young people and ecological justice activism in children’s literature

  • Young people’s reactions to climate change

  • Ecocriticism and children’s literature

  • Ecocriticism, Indigenous Studies, and childhood

  • Indigenous futurisms

  • Discussions of the connections between racial violence and the outdoors (as in A Wreath for Emmett Till, Strange Fruit, How High the Moon)

  • Animals and non-human species in children’s literature  

  • Representations of the environment in nonfiction, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction/fantasy

  • Biographies for young people about environmental activists

  • Authors and/or illustrators whose work focuses on children and/or animals in the outdoors

  • Decentering anthropocentrism

  • Space and place in graphic narratives, such as picture books & comics  

  • Analyses of genders, sexualities, and environments, including LGBTQIA+

  • Representations of environmentalist movements in texts for young people

  • Postcolonial critiques of space and place in children’s literature; postcolonial ecocriticism

  • Representations of children’s experience of the environment in urban spaces

  • Decolonizing representations of land in children’s literature

  • Posthumanism and its relationship to the environment

  • Fake or fantastical science in texts for young people


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