Jan Susina's research interests & media contact information
Jan Susina is a professor of English at Illinois State University where he specializes in courses on children's literature and culture, adolescent literature and culture, and Victorian literature and culture.
His book, The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children's Literature (Routledge 2009, 2011), examines how the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland significantly changed not only literature for children but book publishing as well. The book is now available in paperback. Susina shows how Carroll was an innovative entrepreneuer and marketer of a Wonderland empire. Because Carroll's books, ideas, and photographs continue to intrigue illustrators, mathematicians, new media types, as well as child readers, the Victorian author and his work continues to resonante within contemporary culture; Susina analyzes the effectiveness of the latest re-imagingings of Wonderland. Click here for an adaptation of chapter 12
Susina has also published on contemporary children's books (including American Girls series, Goodnight Moon, and Dr. Seuss), contemporary children's culture (including the "dumbing down of children's literature," the Little House books, Teletubbies, Rugrats, and Raffi), fairy tales and folklore, and adolescent literature and culture (including Francesca Lia Block's books, J.D. Salinger, and censorship).
He is a published poet who has written critical essays on American poets, including Richard Brautigan and Paul Zimmer.
Dr. Susina can be reached at
Department of English, Box 4240
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240
Selected links to Jan Susina's media interviews and related activities
Jan Susina was quoted in "The Common Core on Campus" by Libby A. Nelson, a lengthy article about universities and The Common Core, which was published on the website Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2013.
Jan Susina spoke with Laura Kennedy about The Wizard of Oz books and Oz: the Great and Powerful new film on WGLT March 8, 2012. Available in a podcast.
Jan Susina spoke about the Oz: the Great and Powerful and The Wizard of Oz on WJBC Feb. 25, 2013
Panelist discussing book censorship on "At Issue" a public affairs show of the Peoria PBS channel WTVP. H Wayne Wilson moderator. January 20, 2013.
"Once upon a time, in a land far away" by Sara Arthurs for The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Jan Susina is interviewed in Arthurs' article about recent TV shows focusing on fairy tales. (May 7, 2012)
"Is The Hunger Games good for today's youth" asked WJBC's Jim Fitzpatrick and R.C. McBride when they interviewed Jan Susina about The Hunger Games and trends in tween and teen literature on April 2012.
"Susina on the evolution of graphic novels" The ISU Report interviewed Jan Susina about the graphic novel course he is teaching in Spring 2012. (April 3, 2012)
"There’s room for both Katniss and Bella as heroines, but who’ll be remembered?" article in The Washington Post by Monica Hess (March 22, 2012). Jan Susina interviewed about strong women YA characters, including Katnis in The Hunger Games.
"Challenged, censored books to be read tonight" by Elizabeth Brei, The Vidette, ISU student newspaper. Article, including interview, about a banned book reading that Jan Susina organized. (Sept. 20, 2011).
"Professor's Pet Peeves" Jan Susina is quoted in the article that appeared in Huffington Post and the Mannersmith blog. August 2011
Eric Jome interviewed Jan Susina for “The Importance of Alice” American Concierge Magazine, Bloomington-Normal edition. Summer 2010.
An April 13, 2010 article in Japan Times, " 'Sambo' racism reignites over kids play" featured a quote from Susina's essay “Reviving or Revising Helen Bannerman’s The Story of Little Black Sambo: Postcolonial Hero or Signifying Monkey?” in Voices of the Other: Children’s Literature and the Postcolonial Context. Ed. Roderick McGillis. New York: Garland, 1999: 223-52.
Jan Susina spoke with R.C. McBride on WJBC radio on March 25, 2010 about the popularity of Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland as well as the continuing interest in Lewis Carroll's original texts.
Jan Susina was the featured source in The Pantagraph article "New 'Alice' is latest trip through the looking glass" by Dan Craft (March 4, 2010).
Jan Susina was quoted in The New York Times' article "Drinking Blood: New Wonders of Alice's World" by Larry Rohter (Feb. 26, 2010).
Jan Susina was interviewed and provided background information for "Rabbit Redux" by Ramin Setoodeh in Newsweek (Feb. 26, 2010).
Jan Susina contributed to USA Today's "Quiz: How Well Do You Know Alice in Wonderland?" published Jan 21, 2010.
Jim Browne from WGLT interviewed Jan Susina on Christmas Eve 2009 about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and his new book on Lewis Carroll. As Jan said, the Alice books were originally published at Christmastime and are still good Christmas gifts today.
Jan Susina spoke with R. C. McBride on WJBC Oct. 19, 2009, about the popularity of the 1963 book and 2009 film Where the Wild Things Are. He also spoke about his new book from Routledge, The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children's Literature. (The link is to an mp3 file and is also available as a podcast.)
Preview article in the ISU Vidette newspaper on Ivan Brunetti's talk about cartooning. Jan Susina is interviewed. (3/18/08) "Cartoonist Brunetti to speak on-campus" Also, scroll down on site for ISU TV-10 "College and Main" show for short interview with Susina on 3-5-08
“Jan Susina on Post-Harry Potter Literature for Young People.” Interviewed by Eric Jome. ISU Media Relations Podcast. 6 Dec. 2007. www.mediarelations.ilstu.edu.
How long will the Harry Potter series last? Jan Susina comments in Pantagraph newspaper article "Shelf Life Just Beginning for Harry Potter" (7/12/07)
Vidette newspaper article on controversy of The Higher Power of Lucky. (3/26/07) Jan Susina comments on the 2007 Newbery-award winning book.
The Washington Post 'Little Women' as Grr-illa Theater: Song of Sisterhood is Now a Musical, Too. (6/29/06) Jan Susina comments on the musical 'Little Women' and the role of male characters in the Alcott novel.
Vidette newspaper article on Banned Book Weeks. (9/25/01) Jan Susina is a source for article and organizer of a banned books reading event.
Links to various Susina presentations
Photographer Lauren Greenfield's site with blurb from Susina's review of Greenfield's Fast Forward from "Girls Becoming Goddesses" published in American Book Review 19.1
"Men and Little Women: Notes of a Resisting Reader" in Little Women and the Feminist Imagination: criticism, controversy, personal essays. edited
"Staging Childhood: Lewis Carroll’s Costumed Photographs of Children” presentation promotion for 2006 lecture at College of Fine Arts, Illinois State University
Abstract on "The Rebirth of the Postmodern Flâneur: Notes on the Postmodern Landscape of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat" in Marvels & Tales 16.2 (2002)
" 'Like the fragments of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope' : Andrew Lang Mixes Up Richard Doyle's In Fairyland" abstract of presentation at Princeton University's Cotsen Children's Library. Susina was a co-organizer of this international conference.
American Book Review. "The Children's Crusade" vol 19.1 1997. Editor's introduction by Jan Susina link to pdf
Southside Writers of Birmingham, Alabama. Jan Susina is noted among the many writers of alternative newspapers, journals and small presses in the hip section of Birmingham during the 1970s. He interviewed the Buckingham Nicks band a few times when they toured through Birmingham, before they became part of the legendery Fleetwood Mac.