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Event Details

Fri, November 15, 2019 to Sat, November 16, 2019

9:30 – 17:30

Villa La Pietra
VILLA LA PIETRA
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy

This symposium brings together scholars interested in children’s literature and history with writers, doctors, and other practitioners who work with issues of children’s literacy, health, education, and well-being.

We believe that by looking at the content of children’s literature, the ways that children learn to read and incorporate literature into their lives, and the intersections between children’s reading and pediatric issues of health and development– all seen in the broader context of history and society– we can create meaningful interdisciplinary conversations and spark new dialogues and collaborations.

Friday, November 15

9:30-10:00 AM  Coffee

10:00-10:15 AM Opening of Conference
Welcome: Perri Klass and Larry Wolff, Co-Directors, NYU Florence

10:15 AM -12:00 PM SESSION ONE
Literacy and Child Development as Personal and Political Issues

Junko Yokota, Professor Emerita of Reading and Language, National Louis University, Chicago
What you Read Matters: Food for Young Minds and Souls  

Marnie Campagnaro, Researcher in History and Theory of Children’s Literature, University of Padua
Visionary Objects and Children’s Literature: Developing Visual and Aesthetic Alphabetization through Picturebooks

William Harris, Child Advocate; Founder, KidsPAC Political Action Committee
Politics and Possibilities—Context and Relationships

Dipesh Navsaria, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Touch, Teaching, and Therapies: Trust and the Role of Texts in Children’s Relationships with Adults

Lunch  12:00-1:30 PM
(tour of Villa La Pietra collection: 12:30-1:30 PM)

1:30-3:15 PM SESSION TWO
Cultural and Political Issues of Childhood in Italy

Giorgio Tamburlini, Pediatrician and Epidemiologist; Director, Centro per la Salute del Bambino Onlus, Trieste
Shared Reading as a Door to Working with At-Risk Families: The ‘Villaggio per Crescere’ Project

Lisa Cesarani, Modern Literature; Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, NYU Florence
Dear Diary: Examining the Trope of the Diary as it appears in De Amicis’ Cuore and Vamba’s Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca

Erika Bernacchi, Anthropology and Women’s Studies; Researcher, Istituto degli Innocenti, Florence
Gender Stereotypes in Italian School Texts and New Gender Representations in Children’s Literature

Maria Truglio, Department of Italian; Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Penn State University
‘Two Grams of Melancholy’: Recipes for Proper Italian Boys, 1870-1922

Coffee Break 3:15-3:30 PM

3:30-5:30 PM SESSION THREE
Marginality and Displacement in History and Literature

Maria Tatar, Departments of Germanic Languages and Literatures; and Folklore and Mythology, Harvard University
Yours, Mine, Ours?  The Brothers Grimm and African American Folklore

Stefania Manetti, Pediatrician, Campania; National Board, Nati per Leggere
Nati per Leggere: Experiences with Literacy Promotion and Disadvantaged Populations in Italy

Tara Zahra, Department of History, University of Chicago
How Runaway Children Have Made the Modern Family

Giorgia Grilli, Department of Education Studies, University of Bologna
Subversive Mary Poppins in Children’s Literature

Larry Wolff, Department of History, NYU
Children and Fairy Tales on the Operatic Margins

RECEPTION 5:30-6:30 PM

Saturday, November 16

9:30-10:00  AM Coffee

10:00-11:45  AM SESSION FOUR
Children’s Literature: Difficult Issues in Complex Social Contexts

Kenneth Kidd, Department of English; Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, University of Florida
Children’s Literature as Critical Thought

Robie Harris, Children’s Book Author
‘Writing Honest’: Creating Books for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Children

Nia Heard-Garris, Pediatrician & Researcher, Department of Pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
The Role of Children’s Literature in Addressing Difficult yet Important Topics: Racism, Parental Incarceration, and Gender Identity

Perri Klass, Departments of Journalism and Pediatrics, NYU
‘Every One had Scarlet Fever’: Illness, Death, and Near-Misses in Classic Children’s Books

11:45 AM -12:30 PM Concluding Discussion

12:30-1:30 PM Lunch

 

Featured Biographies

Elisa Biagini

POET AND LECTURER, NYU FLORENCE

Elisa Biagini lives in Florence, Italy after having taught and studied in the U.S. for several years. Her poems have been published in several Italian and American reviews and anthologies. She has published 7 poetry collections- some biligual- such as “L’Ospite”, (Einaudi, 2004), “Fiato. parole per musica” (Edizionidif 2006), “Nel Bosco” (Einaudi 2007) and “Da una crepa” (Einaudi, 2014; translations: The Plant of dreaming, Xenos books/Chelsea editions 2017 e Depuis une fissure, Cadastre8zero 2018- Prix Nunc 2018). A selection of her poems came out in New York in 2013 (“The guest in the wood”, Chelsea editions- 2014 Best Translated Book Award). Her poems have been translated into many languages and she has been invited to the most important international poetry festivals. She teaches Writing at NYU-Florence. www.elisabiagini.it

Erika Bernacchi, Ph.D.

RESEARCHER, ISTITUTO DEGLI INNOCENTI, FLORENCE

Erika Bernacchi is a researcher at the Istituto degli Innocenti of Florence where she carries out research and training activities on children’s rights, gender equality and interculturalism in the framework of national and international projects. She was coordinator of the Secretariat of the European Network of National Observatories on Childhood and contributed to the Italian research in the Multi Country Study on the Drivers of Violence affecting Children coordinated by UNICEF Office of Research.  She holds a European Masters in Human Rights and Democratization and a PhD in Women’s Studies from University College of Dublin. She has published in Italian and international reviews on issues related to children’s and women’s rights, violence against women, and migration. Her latest publication is Femminismo interculturale: una sfida possibile? L’esperienza delle associazioni interculturali di donne in Italia (“Intercultural feminism: a feasible challenge? The experience of women’s intercultural associations in Italy”), 2018, Aracne.

Marnie Campagnaro, PhD.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY, SOCIOLOGY, EDUCATION, AND APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF PADOVA

Marnie Campagnaro teaches Children’s Literature at the University of Padua. Her research involves picture books, fairy-tales, reader-response theory, reading promotion, and Italian children’s writers. In 2013, she hosted the 9th International Conference “The Child and the Book,” and in 2017 she was appointed to organize the 6th International Conference of the European Network of Picturebook Research. Her recent book publications include: Il cacciatore di pieghe: Figure e tendenze della letteratura per l’infanzia contemporanea [The Book Fold Seeker: Trends in Contemporary Children’s Literature] Pensa MultiMedia, 2017; and La Grande Guerra raccontata ai ragazzi [Telling Children about the Great War] Donzelli, 2015.

Lisa Cesarani, Ph. D.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, NYU FLORENCE

Lisa Cesarani received her PhD in American and British Literature from New York University in 2000. She is an affiliated faculty of Global Liberal Studies at NYU and currently teaches “City as Text: Florence and Experiential Learning.”  In addition, Dr. Cesarani has taught the Cultural Foundations and Writing sequences in the Liberal Studies First Year Core in Florence. Along with her teaching responsibilities, Lisa is the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at NYU in Florence. Her research areas are 19th and 20th century American, English and Italian literature, with an interest in children’s literature.

Giorgia Grilli, PhD.

TENURED RESEARCHER IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA

Giorgia Grilli teaches Children’s Literature at the University of Bologna. She co-founded the CRLI: Centro di Ricerche in Letteratura per l’infanzia (Centre of Research in Children’s Literature) in the Department of Sciences of Education, University of Bologna. She has taken part in several international conferences in Europe and the USA, where, in 2015, the Children’s Literature Association recognized her as ‘Distinguished Scholar.’ She has organized several international conferences and events on Children’s Literature, often in collaboration with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She has published articles and monographs on children’s literature, in Italian and  in English. Her publications include Myth, Symbol and Meaning in Mary Poppins, Routledge, 2014, Bologna: Fifty Years of Books for Children From Around the World, BUP, 2013, Ugo Fontana. Illustrating for Children (with Fabian Negrin), ETS, 2014;  Public Schools: formare il giovane uomo ideale (To Form the Ideal Young Man), Pisa, ETS, 2017.

Robie H. Harris

M.A.T., CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR

Robie H. Harris has written award-winning and internationally acclaimed picture books and nonfiction books. Over thirty-five of her books have been published spanning the age range from infancy through early adolescence. Her board books Who? A Celebration of Babies and Look! Babies Head to Toe and two early math picture books, Crash Boom! A Math Tale, and Now What? A Math Tale were published this past year. Other picture books include: Turtle and Me, Maybe A Bear Ate It!, When Lions Roar, Goodbye Mousie, and Mail Harry to the Moon! Her nonfiction books for preschoolers to teens include It’s Perfectly Normal, It’s So Amazing!, It’s Not the Stork!, Who We Are!, Who Has What?, Who’s In My Family?, What’s in There? And What’s So Yummy? Her fiction picture books and board books center on the inner life, the emotional life of the child and the strong, powerful and perfectly normal feelings all children have from love and joy to jealousy, anger, worry, frustration, fear, separation and loss. Her nonfiction picture books and books for older children are based on giving children honest, age-appropriate and the most up-to date information possible and in doing so is “in the best interests of the child.” Harris has spoken and given keynotes about children’s books and her work across the U.S. and in the U.K, including at The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book, and has given grand rounds at The Yale Study Center and the NYU Child Study Center.

William W. Harris, PhD.

CHILD ADVOCATE

Harris received his PhD in Urban Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Lesley University.  He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen articles on childhood trauma, policy, and politics, including Angels in the Nursery: The Intergenerational Transmission of Benevolent Parental Influences. In 1981, Harris founded KidsPac, a political action committee focused on public policies for children from birth to age six and their families. In 1984, Harris founded Children’s Research and Education Institute. He lectures frequently about children, trauma, poverty and politics at universities, political gatherings and public policy forums. His appointments include Adjunct Associate Professor, Tufts University; Study Group Leader, Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government: Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University; Visiting Professor, Heller School/Brandeis University, Adjunct Lecturer Co-teacher, The New School for Social Research; Adjunct Professor, University of California at San Francisco. He has served on several non-profit Boards and advisory committees, including the National Urban League, Wesleyan University, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s Children’s Program Steering and Policy Committee, the Presidential HIV/AIDS Delegation to Africa, the National Science Foundation’s Review Panel of the Public Understanding of Science Program, and the American Psychiatric Association’s Presidential Task Force on the Biopsychosocial Consequences of Childhood Violence.

Nia Heard-Garris, M.D.

ATTENDING PHYSICIAN, ACADEMIC GENERAL PEDIATRICS AND PRIMARY CARE, LURIE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL INSTRUCTOR OF PEDIATRICS (ACADEMIC GENERAL PEDIATRICS AND PRIMARY CARE), NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY FEINBERG SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician and a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University; and also in the Division of Academic General Pediatrics and Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research, Outreach, and Advocacy Center at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Heard-Garris is an active member in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and serves as the Chair and founding member of the Provisional Section of Minority Health, Equity, and Inclusion.Dr. Heard-Garris recently completed a prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Heard-Garris served as a fellow at the United States Department of Health and Human Services with the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She worked on the Flint Water Crisis and Zika while a fellow in those organizations. Dr. Heard-Garris trained at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC for her pediatric residency. During her residency, she completed a health policy fellowship and worked in Honduras, as a part of her global health track. She received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Howard University College of Medicine and helped to launch the student-run free clinic serving Washington DC residents.

Kenneth Kidd, PhD.

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AND ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE AND CULTURE, UNIVERISTY OF FLORIDA

Kenneth Kidd is Professor of English at the University of Florida, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture. He’s the author of three monographs, Making American Boys: Boyology and the Feral Tale; Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Literature; and the forthcoming Theory for Beginners: Children’s Literature as Critical Thought. He has co-edited Wild Things: Children’s Culture and Ecocriticism; Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature; Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards; and Queer as Camp: Essays on Summer, Style, and Sexuality. With Elizabeth Marshall he co-edits the Routledge series Children’s Literature and Culture.

Perri Klass, MD

PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM AND PEDIATRICS, NYU AND CO-DIRECTOR, NYU FLORENCE

Perri Klass is Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University and Co-Director of NYU Florence; she practices pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital. Dr. Klass writes the weekly column, “The Checkup,” for the New York Times. Her nonfiction books include Every Mother is a Daughter, coauthored with her mother, and Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In, coauthored with Eileen Costello, M.D., A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student, and Baby Doctor: A Pediatrician’s Training. Her most recent books are The Mercy Rule, a novel, and Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor. Dr. Klass is the National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, which works through pediatric primary care to promote reading aloud to young children.

Stefania Manetti, MD

FAMILY PEDIATRICIAN, ITALIAN NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM, CAMPANIA; NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER, NATI PER LEGGERE

Stefania Manetti is an Italian Family Pediatrician, who has worked for the Italian National Health System of care since September 1986 in the Campania Region.  In 1999, through the Italian Cultural Association of Pediatricians, she became involved with the “Nati per Leggere” program which was established soon after the first contacts with the Reach out and Read project. After many years of research, scientific evidence shows the need to work with families and children through the support of good parenting practices. This is what she tries to do every day in her clinical practice, in her region, where there are almost no public libraries for children and very few educational services for small children from 6 months to 3 years.  In 2004 together with another pediatrician, Pasquale Causa, she produced the first NpL book for 6-month-old children, with pictures of different children’s faces, Guarda  che faccia!! The children were all Dr. Manetti’s patients, very young, now adults. The book is much used by pediatricians during well child visits to promote reading in families.  In recent years her collaboration with the “Nati per Leggere” program has grown, and she is now on the national NpL board, working on the strategies necessary to  reach the unreachable families.

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH

Dipesh Navsaria is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children’s librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate.  With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together. He has practiced primary-care pediatrics in a variety of settings with a special emphasis on working with underserved populations.  He is involved in advocacy training for residents, medical students, and practicing physicians.  His educational interests also include physician assistant education and public/population health training for clinicians. Additionally, Dr Navsaria is strongly engaged with early literacy programs in health care settings, particularly around ideas of early brain and child development, which include neurobiological effects of adversity and poverty upon the developing brain. A dynamic speaker who easily translates basic science and clinical medicine for a wide variety of audiences in order to shape programs and policy, Dr Navsaria lectures locally, regionally and nationally on early literacy, early brain and child development, child health advocacy and technology.

Giorgio Tamburlini, MD, PhD.

PEDIATRICIAN AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST; PRESIDENT, CENTRO PER LA SALUTE DEL BAMBINO ONLUS, TRIESTE

Giorgio Tamburlini is a pediatrician and epidemiologist with a PhD in perinatal medicine and developmental pediatrics and an international consultant in maternal and child health policies and programs and Early Child Development. He has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità;  member of the Standing and Executive Committee of the International Pediatric Association; and Scientific Director of the Burlo Garofalo maternal and child health research Institute in Trieste. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Nurturing Care Initiative, and of the United Nations CRC Committee for Digital Technologies; he is a scientific advisor for Save the Children in Italy and Medici con l’Africa CUAMM (Doctors with Africa).  He has been a consultant for UN agencies (WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank) and international NGOs on policy and program development and implementation.  Currently he is also President of the NGO Centro per la Salute del Bambino onlus, (CSB) which he co-founded in 1999. The mission of CSB is to ensure to all children equal opportunities for optimal cognitive and socio-emotional development.  CSB develops and implements interventions targeting professionals of the health education and social services working with families and parents. He is the author and co-author of more than 120 articles. His main research interests have been the quality of maternal and neonatal services, policy and strategy implementation, equity in child services, and early childhood development.

Maria Tatar, PhD.

JOHN L. LOEB RESEARCH PROFESSOR OF GERMANIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES AND OF FOLKLORE AND MYTHOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Professor Tatar received her Ph.D. from Princeton University. Her teaching and research interests include Weimar Germany, German Romanticism, folklore, children’s literature, and cultural studies. She serves on degree committees in Folklore and Mythology as well as in History and Literature. The author of books on the Brothers Grimm and on fairy tales (The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Off with Their Heads, Secrets beyond the Door), she has also published Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature and Lustmord, which explores sexual violence in the literature, film, and art of the Weimar period in Germany. She is the editor of Classic Fairy Tales, as well as of The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen. Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood was published in 2009 with W.W. Norton. She received the NAACP Image Award for Literature in 2019 for Annotated African American Folktales, edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Society of Fellows.

Maria Truglio, PhD

PROFESSOR OF ITALIAN AND WOMEN'S, GENDER & SEXUALITY STUDIES, THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY

Maria Truglio received her PhD in Italian from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century Italian literature, children’s literature, Italian American culture, women writers in Italy, and critical methodologies. Her book Beyond the Family Romance: The Legend of Pascoli (University of Toronto Press, 2007) offers a psychoanalytic perspective on the work of Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912), one of Italy’s most celebrated poets, with a particular focus on the uncanny. Her second book, Italian Children’s Literature and National Identity: Childhood, Melancholy, Modernity (Routledge’s Children’s Literature and Culture Series, 2017) explores children’s literature in Italy from the unification period through the rise of fascism, with an emphasis on how gender mediated the process of “making Italians.”  With her colleague Dr. Nicolás Fernández-Medina she co-edited the volume Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy (Routledge, 2016). Her current project examines how children’s books published in Italy since the 1990s represent immigration and immigrants to young readers.

Larry Wolff, PhD

SILVER PROFESSOR OF HISTORY; EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NYU REMARQUE INSTITUTE; CO-DIRECTOR, NYU FLORENCE

Larry Wolff is the Silver Professor of History at New York University, Executive Director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and Co-Director of NYU Florence. His most recent book is The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). He is also the author of Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012); The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (2010), Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994), The Vatican and Poland in the Age of the Partitions (1988); and Postcards From the End of the World: Child Abuse in Freud’s Vienna (1988).His next forthcoming book (2020) is Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe.  He has received Fulbright, American Council of Learned Societies, and Guggenheim fellowships, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Junko Yokota, PhD

PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF READING AND LANGUAGE, NATIONAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, NATIONAL LOUIS UNIVERSITY (CHICAGO)

Junko Yokota is Professor Emeritus of Reading and Language at National College of Education, National Louis University (Chicago) and Director of the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books. She was an elementary classroom teacher and school librarian for the first ten years of her career. Her research focuses on visual literacy through picture books, multicultural and international literature, digital literature for children, and literacy instruction through quality literature. Her publications include five editions of a coauthored college textbook, Children’s Books in Children’s Hands and the coauthored book, Thinking and Learning through Children’s Literature; two children’s literature review columns, over 60 journal articles and over 20 chapters in edited books. Professor Yokota is past president of USBBY, the U.S. national section of the IBBY. She served on the American Library Association’s Newbery Committee, chaired the Batchelder Committee, chaired the Caldecott Committee, served three terms on the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award jury and is currently president of the jury. She received the Virginia Hamilton Award for Contribution to Multicultural Literature and the Reading the World Award. Born and raised in Japan, Junko is an active participant in the international children’s literature community. She has held research fellowships at the International Youth Library in Munich, as well as at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. In 2015, she was at the University of Wrocław as a Fulbright Scholar.

Tara Zahra, PhD.

HOMER J. LIVINGSTON PROFESSOR OF EAST EUROPEAN HISTORY AND THE COLLEGE, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

Tara Zahra is a professor of history at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the transnational history of modern Europe, migration, the family, nationalism, and humanitarianism. She is currently working on two book projects: a history of deglobalization in interwar Europe and, with Pieter Judson, a history of the First World War in the Habsburg Empire. Zahra is most recently the author of The Great Departure: Mass Migration and the Making of the Free World (Norton, 2016) and, she is co-editor,  with Leora Auslander, of Objects of War: The Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement (Cornell, 2018). Her previous books include The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II (Harvard, 2011) and Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands (Cornell, 2008).  In 2014 she received the MacArthur Fellowship.  In 2017 she was elected to the American Academy of Sciences.