Sea Stacks: Contemporary Atlantic Canadian books for children and teens

This research project seeks to document and analyze the current state of regional literature for children and young adults in Atlantic Canada, and to create an authoritative website devoted to contemporary Atlantic Canadian literature for children and teens.

Research over the past two decades has amply demonstrated the importance of literature to the formation of both regional and national cultural identity, particularly in the face of mass market globalization of children’s book publishing in the 21st century as well as the predominance of non-Canadian content from television, movies, books, magazines and internet media.  However, Canadian children appear to have only very limited exposure to Canadian authors and illustrators.  In Atlantic Canada, the locus of study for this proposed project, regional Atlantic Canadian authors and illustrators for children receive very limited critical attention, and resources for the study and teaching of Atlantic Canadian children’s literature are few.  Print and digital information sources on regional children’s books, publishing, authors and illustrators are scattered and inconsistent in quality and currency.  This research project directly addresses these key concerns by documenting and analyzing the current state of regional literature for children and young adults in Atlantic Canada, and by creating an authoritative web-delivered textbase devoted to contemporary Atlantic Canadian literature for children and teens.  The specific objectives of the project are:

i.      To analyze issues and themes in contemporary English-language Atlantic Canadian books (fiction and nonfiction) for children and teens;

ii.     To document the current state of this literature by:

a.     Researching the history and context of children’s publishing and book culture in the Atlantic provinces by interviewing key publishers, editors, independent booksellers, and other key figures who have been influential in shaping regional literature for youth.

b.     Creating a comprehensive annotated bibliography of primary texts.

c.     Conducting videotaped interviews with selected authors and illustrators, specifically exploring regional themes in their work.

d.     Creating author and illustrator profiles containing biographical information, bibliographies of primary and secondary sources, and interview excerpts.

iii.   To create a comprehensive database of books, writers, illustrators, publishers and other relevant cultural institutions involved with English-language Atlantic Canadian literature for children and teens. The database will have a multi-faceted web-based interface to serve the needs of specific user groups: scholars, practitioners (teachers and librarians), and youth themselves.

iv.   To evaluate the efficacy of the research conducted by undertaking a usability study of the website and its interfaces.

Director: Dr. Vivian Howard, Dalhousie University

Participants:

  • Dr. Andrea Schwenke Wyile, Acadia University
  • Ms. Susan Fisher, University of New Brunswick
  • Dr. Keith Lawson, Dalhousie University