Thursday, May 4, 2017

Prof. Roberta Trites Receives International Brothers Grimm Award

Sleeping Beauty by Walter Crane

Press Release (emphasis in bold is ours):
Illinois State University’s Distinguished Professor Roberta Seelinger Trites is the recipient of the 16th International Brothers Grimm Award by the International Institute for Children’s Literature, Osaka, Japan. 
Trites served as the president of the Children’s Literature Association in 2006 and 2007, and as editor of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly from 2000 to 2004. She worked to shift the association’s focus from a primarily North American view to a more international perspective and to enhance its academic rigor. Her direction of 22 Ph.D. students, including students from India, Jordan, Nepal, Tanzania, and Taiwan, provides testimony to her outstanding expertise and international contributions to the field of children’s literature. 
Professor Roberta S. Trites
...Trites’ work includes Waking Sleeping Beauty: Feminist Voices in Children’s Novels. The International Institute of Children’s Literature describes Trites’ books as ground-breaking in their theoretical approaches to adolescent literature, feminist studies, historical and cultural literary studies. 
Professor Trites is the third citizen of the U.S. upon which this honor has been bestowed. She has been short-listed for the award several times before and is now being accorded fitting recognition as its 16th recipient. The award was established in 1986 to honor the Brothers Grimm’s centenary and is sponsored by the Kinran-kai Foundation of Osaka.
More information on Professor Trites can be found in the full press release HERE.

Here's the synopsis of Waking Sleeping Beauty. Please note - there have been opposing responses to Prof. Trites' book - some labeling it 'wonderfully feminist' while others call it out as being beholden to patriarchal ideals, with the sentiments included being 'dangerous for young girls today'. We have no copy ourselves and cannot comment, other than to make potential readers aware of the differences in critical response.

Waking Sleeping Beauty

Feminist Voices in Children's Novels
Roberta S. Trites
Publication Year: 1997

The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.

Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.

Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.

We've listed the chapter titles for your reference below, and you can find out more - as well as download PDFs of the chapters - HERE:
1. Defining the Feminist Children's Novel
2. Subverting Stereotypes: Rejecting Traditional Gender Roles
3. Subjectivity as a Gender Issue: Metaphors and Intertextuality
4. Transforming Feminine Silence: Pro/claiming Female Voices
5. Re/constructing the Female Writer: Subjectivity in the Feminist Künstlerroman
6. Female Interdependency: Literal and Metaphoric Sisterhood
7. Refuting Freud: Mother/Daughter Relationships
8. Metafiction and the Politics of Identity: Narrativity, Subjectivity, and Community
9. Afterword: Feminist Pedagogy and Children's Literature

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