deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
SAMLA '90 Fighters from the Margins: Socio-Political Activists and Their Allies


Recent activist work in the field of children's and young adult literature has focused on the lack of diverse protagonists and created a variety of initiatives to change that fact, including the #weneeddiversebooks campaign. The desire to improve diverse representations in children’s and young adult literature aligns with recent research into how an individual comes to understand that others have complex inner lives that may differ from our own, often studied in psychology as Theory of the Mind (ToM). Recent studies of ToM and fiction show literature’s power, as an art form, to increase readers’ empathy and engagement with others. Both minority readers and privileged populations, therefore, need diverse books. This panel at SAMLA 90, dedicated to “Fighters from the Margins,” asks for essays that investigate the power of diverse books, in order to continue the work of #weneeddiversebooks. Some possible avenues of investigation are:


  • Intersections of #weneeddiversebooks and #blacklivesmatter
  • Forgotten or undertheorized books with diverse protagonists
  • Power of visual communication to represent diversity in picture books or comics
  • Diversity represented outside the confines of historical tragedy (Holocaust, Japanese internment, slavery, Jim Crow, Native American genocide, etc.)
  • Intersectional analyses that explore gender, sexuality, ability in addition to racial diversity

Proposals of 250 words and a short biography are due May 31st.

SAMLA '90 will take place November 2-4 in Birmingham, Alabama. You can find more information here: or contact Rachel Dean-Ruzicka at the email provided.