iSchool Research Symposium: Zetta Elliott
“'Fairies Are for White Girls' and Other Lies My Sister Told Me”
“The ‘trouble’ with magic, as it is represented in much of children’s literature, is that it appears to exist in realms to which only certain children belong.” This quote from one of Zetta Elliott’s scholarly essays regularly plays out in predictable ways during school visits: when asked about magic, most kids think of wands in the hands of white wizards. Elliott’s fantasy fiction counters European conventions by introducing young readers to "black magic" rooted in the cultures of the African diaspora. Her intentionally inclusive narratives ensure that young readers know they can open a portal or encounter a mythical beast not only in a castle in England but in their own urban neighborhood.
Elliott is the author of more than 30 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena’s Jubilee. Her urban fantasy novel, Ship of Souls, was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth; her YA time-travel novel, The Door at the Crossroads, was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the 2017 Cybils Awards. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was published by Random House in 2018; it was named an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in children's literature; her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Her plays have been staged in Cleveland, New York, and Chicago. She currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
To RSVP, email Mallory Shaw, Research Development Coordinator, at email@example.com.