"The Intellectual Importance of Youth Fantasy Literature" Panel, Jan. 13

"The Intellectual Importance of Youth Fantasy Literature" Panel, Jan. 13

Fairfield professors Betsy Bowen, PhD, (left) of the College of Arts and Sciences and Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, of the School of Education and Human Development (right).

Fairfield professors Betsy Bowen, PhD, (left) of the College of Arts and Sciences and Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, of the School of Education and Human Development.

Fairfield University professors will give a virtual presentation about the significance of youth fantasy literature at the Pequot Library next week.

Fairfield professors Betsy Bowen, PhD, of the College of Arts and Sciences and Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, of the School of Education and Human Development will be featured in a panel discussion about the significance of youth fantasy literature. The event will take place at the Pequot Library in Southport, Conn. on January 13 at 6 p.m.

The panel discussion endeavors to illuminate the importance of the genre and is offered in conjunction with the exhibition Magic, Mayhem and Maturity: The Growth of Youth Fantasy Literature. The discussion is sponsored by the Connecticut Humanities, and will also include the Pequot Library’s Christine Catallo, curator of the exhibit and chief librarian, and Children’s Librarian Jane Manners.

"Fantasy novels offered me a larger world, one in which even a child could be gifted or powerful," Dr. Bowen said.  "As a young reader, I saw myself in Wart discovering his real identity in The Sword in the Stone, and Maria Merryweather, the red-haired orphan in The Little White Horse. Even Fern, in E.B. White’s gentle Charlotte’s Web, can understand what animals say in a way that no adult can.  Books like that taught me that, if I was brave and persistent, I might figure out who I was and what I could do in the world."

Dr. Bowen, professor of English and faculty chair of Community-Engaged Learning, teaches courses on rhetoric, literacy, and contemporary children’s literature. Her current research explores access to literacy among the last generation of Americans who were enslaved, using interviews collected by the Federal Writers’ Project. Some of that research is available on the “Reading Slavery, Writing Freedom” website. Dr. Bowen was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as the 2010 Connecticut Professor of the Year.

Dr. Crandall is director of the Connecticut Writing Project and associate professor of educational studies and teacher preparation where he teaches literacy, philosophy, and action research courses. He also leads teacher leadership institutes and young adult literacy labs. Dr. Crandall’s scholarship includes the teaching of writing in diverse, inclusive settings, young adult literature, and K-12 professional development. He is recipient of a Divergent Award for Excellence from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research and an Elizabeth M. Pfriem Civic Leadership Award for his teacher and youth programming. Dr. Crandall is co-producer and co-host of The Write Time, a National Writing Project show that unites teachers with children’s and young adult authors.

“For me it was The Phantom Tollbooth with its witty puns and clever wordplay,” said Dr. Crandall. “Of course, Roald Dahl’s Chocolate Factory led me to love reading, too. Reading helped me to explain the world, especially those books that sparked my imagination. The Magic, Mayhem, and Maturity exhibit at Pequot Library offers a location for all of us to reflect on the power of youth fantasy."

The Jan. 13 panel discussion, titled "The Intellectual Importance of Youth Fantasy Literature," is free and open to the public. Originally scheduled as an in-person event, it has been reformatted and will be presented virtually. Registrants will receive a Zoom link prior to the program.

"The Intellectual Importance of Youth Fantasy Literature"

Date: Thursday, January 13
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: This program has been reformatted as a virtual event. Registrants will receive a Zoom link prior to the program.

Additional Details:

Join us for a lively panel discussion about the significance of youth fantasy literature with a panel featuring professors from Fairfield University and Pequot’s own librarians. From education to emotional development to morality, youth fantasy literature offers a variety of benefits to readers of all ages. This panel will illuminate the importance of this frequently overlooked genre, and is offered in conjunction with the exhibition Magic, Mayhem and Maturity: The Growth of Youth Fantasy Literature.

Tags:  SEHD,  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences

Last modified: 01-07-22 9:19 AM

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