The “un” movement is an intriguing one. Until recently I had only heard about it in terms of unconferences, participant-driven events such as this one. But now there is another sort of un-thing, an unjournal. Created by children’s literature graduate students at San Diego State University, the inaugural issue of The Unjournal of Children’s Literature is up and ready for viewing, reading, and responding. Gorgeous to look at, clearly designed in terms of navigation, fascinating in terms of content, this is one elegant web publication.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the Letter from the Editors that give a taste of what the creators are trying to do:
We are thrilled to present to you the inaugural issue of The Unjournal of Children’s Literature, an online, open-access, peer-reviewed… experience! You see, we hesitate to call The Unjournal of Children’s Literature a journal; it strives to be more interactive than a traditional journal and encourages and embraces developing ideas and emerging voices in the field of children’s literature. With the multitude of amazing traditional journals already extant in the field, we wanted to offer something slightly more alternative—an unjournal, if you will….
… We aim to publish works of a single issue over the course of six months, sometimes as individual articles and sometimes as a themed set of related works. The goal is to unravel traditional journaling by introducing new elements to the publishing process, including this rolling system of publishing and the ability to engage socially via Twitter and comments (look around for areas to “Leave a Reply”). Because of the more fluid nature of our ‘publishing,’ we encourage you to follow our journal in order to receive email notifications when new material has been added. This material includes but won’t be limited to articles, book reviews, interviews, and artist spotlights. Artists will find an inviting home here to share their imaginings of childhood and related subjects. So make sure to observe the artwork that is featured across the site – we intend to shine a spotlight on local, aspiring, and established artists with a turn toward children’s literature, children, and childhood.
The offerings in this first issue are terrific and wonderfully presented. The two interviews with children’s lit scholar Jerry Griswold, are full of fascinating stuff, but I think my head exploded when I read the following:
I think one of the most interesting events I went to in San Diego was a lecture at the San Diego Museum of Art in the early 80’s with Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), a San Diegan. The two of them lectured together and it was absolutely fantastic. The lecture has been transcribed in Glen Sandler’s Teaching Children’s Literature (1992).
Then there are the Artist Spotlights. In this issue they are featuring Sallie Lowenstein, founder of Stone Lion Books; Christian Jackson (love his take on Alice in Wonderland); and Cecilia Polkinhorn.
Finally, as this is an un-academic-journal, there are the scholarly articles. In this issue you can read Jill Coste’s take on Sarah Fielding’s The Governess, Alya Hameed’s consideration of The Stoneheart Trilogy, and Kelsey Wadman’s review of Jack Zipes’ The Irresistible Fairy Tale.
I highly recommend taking a look around. Congratulations to the creators of this intriguing venture offering an original way of looking at children’s literature.