the ethical and religious dimensions of children's literature

This seminar will focus on the ways in which religious and ethical concerns shape children’s education and entertainment. It will cover not only how authors and illustrators imbue their work with mythic and moral significance, but also how arguably religious elements such as supernatural characters inflect secular literature and comic books.



photo of heather blairHeather Blair; Religious Studies; College of Arts & Sciences; Bloomington;



photo of alisa clapp itnyreAlisa Clapp-Itnyre; English; School of Humanities and Social Sciences; IU East;





Seminar Events:






photo of man holding son over head with event detailsImagining Youth/Youth Imagining: Folklore and Literature

Fernando Orejuela

Folklore, IU Bloomington

Rebekah Sheldon

English, IU Bloomington



Friday Feb. 16th 2:00-3:30 PM

IU Bloomington, GISB, Room 3067

Panel discussion of research by Fernando Orejuela (IUB, Folklore) and Rebekah Sheldon (IUB, English)

2:00–3:30 pm, with coffee, tea, and snacks





Dealing with Death

Alisa Clapp-Itnyre

English, IU East


Sunday Feb. 4th 2:00 PM

IU Richmond, Richmond Civic Theatre

Post-performance discussion following Stage One Youth Theatre’s production of Bridge to Terabithia, Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, director

Performance at 2 pm, with discussion following



Picturing Religion and Ethics through Comic Books


Daniel Peretti

Indiana University, Folklore & Ethnomusicology

Heather Blair

Indiana University, Department of Religious Studies


Thursday Nov. 30th 1:45-3:45 PM

IU Bloomington, Wells Library, Room 030

In his new book, Superman in Myth and Folklore (University of Mississippi Press, 2017), Daniel Peretti explores how Americans use the Man of Steel as a model for behavior, a means to express and perform individual identity, and a focal point for community. 

Heather Blair specializes in the history of Japanese religious culture. In her current book project, provisionally titled The Gods Make You Giggle: Finding Religion in Japanese Picturebooks, she argues that religious imagery and ideas animate Japan’s modern and contemporary picturebooks in unrecognized but important ways.



Ethics All Around Us: Current Research on 19th Century & Contemporary Experiences for Children


Tuesday September 26th 11:15AM - 1:15PM

IU Bloomington, GISB Building, Room 3067


Research Roundtable and lunch with Alisa Clapp-Itnyre (IU East, English); Megan Musgrave (IUPUI, English and Native American Studies); Rebekah Sheldon (IUB, English)