Book edited by Pitt-Bradford librarian explores internationalism in children’s series

BRADFORD, Pa. – A new book coedited by Marietta Frank, director of Hanley Library at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, explores how internationalism is presented in children’s series.

The book, “Internationalism in Children’s Series,” includes chapters on stories about children’s “grand tour” of Europe, girls’ culture and depictions of the British Empire in Victorian girls’ magazines, 20th-century children’s literature series and modern favorites such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The book is part of the Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature series published by Palgrave Macmillan of interest to those who teach and study children’s literature. Frank co-edited with Karen Sands-O’Connor, a professor of English at SUNY Buffalo State College.

Frank contributed a chapter comparing two authors who sought to advance the cause of world friendship by writing books about children living in countries outside of the United States in the first half of the 20th century. She examined Mary Hazelton Wade’s contributions to the Little Cousin series, noting the author’s discomfort with non-European cultures and condescending tone in books such as “Our Little African Cousin.”

She contrasted Wade’s series with the “Twins of the World Series,” first written by Lucy Fitch Perkins and later by other authors. Frank noted that Perkins depicted her foreign characters with sympathy and played up the universal attributes of childhood.

Frank is the newly appointed director of Hanley Library at Pitt-Bradford. She completed a Master of Library Science at SUNY Geneseo and a Master of Arts in children’s literature at Hollins University. She co-wrote an earlier book with Sands-O’Connor, “Back in the Spaceship Again: Juvenile Science Fiction Series Since 1947.”

She and her husband, Dennis, live in Bradford.

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