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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Winner, Award, International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL)

I am stunned to report that Racial Innocence has won the Award from the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL). This biennial prize "honours a distinguished work of research into children's literary and cultural texts published in the two (calendar) years prior to the Congress at which it is awarded." My partner Maya and I are hoping to get to Maastricht, The Netherlands, for the IRSCL Congress, at which I'll receive the award.

Many, many thanks are due to Perry Nodelman, who nominated Racial Innocence for the IRSCL Award. Professor Nodelman is the distinguished author of The Hidden Adult: Defining Children's Literature, The Pleasures of Children's Literature (with Mavis Reimer), and many other scholarly works, as well as several works of fiction. Professor Nodelman also maintains a blog about salt and pepper shakers--yes, salt and pepper shakers--and the ways in which these seemingly simple things open up deep questions about the nature of pairing, about race, gender, and sexuality, about kitsch and cuteness, about the acts of collecting, and about binary opposition.

The IRSCL Award will be the final one for Racial Innocence. The book is not nominated for any other prizes. It has been a simply amazing run: the book won the Grace Abbott Best Book Award from the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth, the Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Children's Literature Association Book Award, and the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize from the New England American Studies Association. Racial Innocence was also runner-up for the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize from the American Studies Association and honorable mention for the Book Award from the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. As this list shows, the book has won awards in the fields of history, literature, theatre/performance, and American studies.

I am just overwhelmed by the recognition this book has received from prize committees, and of equal importance, from the people who have read the book and the professors who have assigned it in their graduate and undergraduate classes. Many, many thanks are due to New York University Press, specifically Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief Eric Zinner and Assistant Editors Alicia Kirin Nadkarni and Ciara McLaughlin; to the book series editors David Kazanjian, Elizabeth McHenry, and Priscilla Wald; and to the amazing publicity team that has included, at different times, Mary Beth Jarrad, Betsy Steve, Trish Palao, Bernadette Blanco (who managed the book prize nominations!), Joe Gallagher, and Tom Sullivan. I thank all of them for their unwavering support for this book. And I thank the IRSCL, deeply, for Racial Innocence's final award.

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