The Ghost of the Talking Cricket* is Jan Susina's website about children's literature. Susina is a professor of English at Illinois State University. He specializes in teaching about children's literature and culture, adolescent literature and culture, and Victorian cultural studies at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He is frequently a media source, particularly on children's and adolescent literature and culture, book censorship, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Research areas that Susina has worked in include:
- Contemporary picture books and books for early readers
- Visual culture and visual literacy
- Folklore and fairy tales, particularly Victorian literary fairy tales
- History of childhood
- Adolescent literature
- Children's films, multimedia, and related texts
- Graphic novels and comics
- 19th century British literature, including Jane Austen
- Contemporary American poetry.
- Censorship related to children's and adolescent books.
- The 'dumbing down' of children's literature.
- Cultural studies.
- Victorian authors and their books including: Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, George MacDonald, Christina Rosetti, E. Nesbit, and Louisa May Alcott.
- Contemporary children's and adolescent book authors including Francesca Lia Block, Raffi, Daniel Pinkwater.
- 20th-century children's book authors including: Margaret Wise Brown, Robert McCloskey, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frank L. Baum, J.D. Salinger, Gertrude Stein, Maurice Sendak.
- Children's culture, including analysis of: Teletubbies, Home Alone, the American Girls dolls, Rugrats, Godzilla, children's literature-based cookbooks, children's multimedia.
- American poets including Richard Brautigan and Paul Zimmer.
Within this site you will find:
- Selected resources in children's literature
- Recent publications, books, and presentations by Susina
- Articles the media in which Susina has been a source, particularly about children's literature & culture
- Annotated lists of films and media texts, with many links, on children's & adolescent culture which Susina uses in his courses
- Courses that Susina has taught at Illinois State University, Kansas State University, Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and Indiana University-Bloomington
*Click here for an explanation of the website's title. Hint: Pinnochio
Thank you for visiting.
"Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives. In later life we admire, we are entertained, we may modify some views we already hold, but we are more likely to find in books merely a confirmation of what is in our minds already: as in a love affair, it is our own features that we see reflected flatteringly back.
But in childhood all books are books of divination, telling us about the future, and like the fortune-teller who sees a long journey in the cards or death by water, they influence the future."
-- Graham Greene from "Lost Childhood" in The Lost Childhood and Other Essays (1951)