Dominican University’s School of Information Studies will present a conversation between authors Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Renee Watson titled “Fantastic Black Girlhoods” on Monday, March 29. The free virtual lecture will be held at 6 p.m. Register here to receive a Zoom link for the program.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, who is serving as Dominican’s Follett Chair, is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies how people of color are portrayed, or not portrayed, in children’s and young adult literature, and how those portrayals shape our culture. Thomas regularly reviews children’s books featuring diverse heroes and heroines, teens and tweens caught between cultures, and kids from the margins. She has a particular interest in young adult fantasy literature and fan culture. A former English and language arts teacher, Thomas also explores how teachers handle traumatic historical events, such as slavery, when teaching literature. Her most recent academic book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019).

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her poetry and fiction often centers on the experiences of Black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renée is the founder and served as executive director of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts.

About the Butler Center

Established in 2009, the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University is administered by the School of Information Studies and is supported by the Butler Family Foundation. The Center houses an examination collection of newly published books for children and teens, and two historical collections of note: The Effie Lee Morris Collection of African American Books and the Ellin Greene Storytelling Collection.

Photo: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, left; Renee Watson, right