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Children's Literature Collection
 
 

1997 Ezra Jack Keats Fellowship Recipients

 

The awarding of the 1997 Ezra Jack Keats/de Grummond Collection Research Fellowship followed a different pattern from the previous seven years. In 1997 the fellowship was awarded to a Canadian couple who share an interest in children's literature, as well as a last name.

Eva and Donn Kushner are both emeritus faculty members of the University of Toronto. Dr. Eva Kushner, former President of Victoria College (which is federated with the University of Toronto) and later the Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature, still teaches courses in Renaissance studies at the Centre. Her research project, "The Right to be a Child in the XVIth and in the XXth Century," pulled together a lifetime of scholarly inquiry. Resources of the de Grummond Collection enabled her to examine prevailing theories about the didactic nature of literature for the Renaissance child and to compare them to the postmodern child's wide array of choices.

Dr. Donn Kushner holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and, although retired, still teaches in the Departments of Microbiology and Botany at the University of Toronto.

Donn and Eva Kushner with Dee Jones

But it is not Dr. Kushner's scientific interests that brought him to Hattiesburg. He is also an award-winning author of children's literature. His The Violin Maker's Gift(Macmillan of Canada 1980) won the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children Award. Other children's titles include Uncle Jacob's Ghost Story(1984), A Book Dragon (1987) winner of the IODE Canada Chapter Award, The House of the Good Spirits (1990), The Dinosaur Duster (1992), A Thief Among Statues (1993), and The Night Voyagers (1995).

Donn Kushner's research project, "Can Old Tales be Told Again?" led him to survey stories in the books and magazines held by the de Grummond Collection to assess which stories would particularly appeal to contemporary young readers. He had a particular interest in stories that were published in relatively obscure forms that deserve to be better known.

The Kushners spent a very enjoyable and profitable ten days browsing through the 55,000 published volumes held by the de Grummond Collection. Their search reaffirmed some old ideas, germinated some new research interests, and provided a new perspective for their teaching and writing.

The annual research fellowship program is funded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and we thank them for their continued support of our efforts to make the extensive holdings of the de Grummond Collection accessible to a growing number of scholars throughout the world.

 

 

 

Contact:
The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
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