Mind the Gap: Traversing the Imagination Gap, Emancipating Children’s Literature

Nana Afia Boadi-Acheampong, ’21

CAMD Scholar
Faculty Advisor: Megan Paulson, Instructor in History

In our imaginations, vast universes await. In our heads, we can invent, ponder, and visualize the many possibilities for our lives. Our imaginations are limitless… right?

In her presentation, Nana Afia Boadi-Acheampong ‘21 will examine the ways in which fantastical children’s literature and media has limited how Western society imagines the roles of Black people. Children’s literature teaches a kid more than vocabulary. It offers wisdom and insights that serve as a foundation on which they can build their own futures. But children’s literature is flawed—anti-black.

How does this anti-Blackness reveal itself in children’s and young adult medias? How are authors, illustrators, the publishing industry, teachers, parents, and librarians complicit in maintaining the imagination gap? What does it all mean for Black children, who have a right to dream? Nana Afia will answer these questions using her analysis of popular children’s and young adult books and films, data concerning U.S. children’s literature, as well as studies examining African American children’s literature. She will share her own literary experience, and how she believes children’s literature can be emancipated.

Watch Nana Afia’s presentation here!

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