Children's Literature at Southern Miss

The English Department at Southern Miss offers advanced studies in children’s literature at the master’s and doctoral levels, where we have brought together faculty with teaching and research interests in children’s literature, graduate-level course offerings in the field, and the extensive holdings of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. Together, these resources provide a unique opportunity for the graduate study of children’s and young adult literature at Southern Miss. 



Eric L. Tribunella, Associate Professor and Senior Associate Dean, has taught a variety of children’s literature courses on such topics as the Golden Age, trauma in children's literature, the young adult novel, children’s literature before 1865, and children's literature of the American South.  He is the author of Melancholia and Maturation:  The Use of Trauma in American Children’s Literature (2010).  His other research interests include gender and sexuality studies.

Jameela Lares, Professor, has taught children’s and young adult literature for many years in both the US and the UK.  She is preparing publications on linguistic anxiety in Winnie-the-Pooh and social responsibility in British fantasy.  Her other research and teaching interests include John Milton and the seventeenth century, literary study of the Bible, and the history of rhetoric.

Kate Cochran is an Associate Professor in southern literature and Director of the English Licensure Program.  She teaches courses in English pedagogy, adolescent literature, American literature, and southern studies.  She has published articles in the New Hibernia Review, the Southern Literary Journal, and the College English Association Forum, and her current research in young adult literature focuses on the Twilight Saga.

Alexandra Valint, Assistant Professor, specializes in Victorian literature, narrative theory, and children’s and young adult literature. She has taught courses on the body in young adult literature, depictions of the adolescent as hero and/or victim, and gothic children’s and young adult literature. She also regularly teaches children’s literature in her Victorian literature classes. She has articles published or forthcoming in Children’s Literature Association QuarterlyEnglish Literature in Transition, 1880–1920The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian LiteratureNew Directions in Gothic Children’s Literature; and Dickens Studies Annual. 


Each year, Southern Miss hosts the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, which brings children’s book authors and illustrators to campus each spring to speak to students and festival attendees. Founded in 1968, the Festival includes the presentation of the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, which honors an author or illustrator for distinguished contributions to children’s literature. Past recipients of the Medallion include Jane Yolen, David Wiesner, Judy Blume, Walter Dean Myers, Lois Lowry, and Virginia Hamilton.

In June 2013, the University of Southern Mississippi will host the Fortieth Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Organized by faculty from the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection and the Department of English, the conference will take place at the IP Resort on Biloxi’s scenic Back Bay and will address the conference theme of play and risk in children’s and young adult literature and culture. Dr. Jerry Griswold, Professor Emeritus and the former director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at San Diego State University, will deliver the Francelia Butler Lecture.




Children’s Literature in London
  • ENG 597:  British Children’s Literature is an intensive 4-week course regularly taught in London during the summer.  Students combine the study of British children’s literature with visits to the actual sites associated with the course texts or authors.
Key Campus Courses
  • ENG 645:  Topics in Children’s and Young Adult Literature (repeatable to 6 hours)
  • ENG 745:  Seminar in Children’s and Young Adult Literature (repeatable to 6 hours)


For more information, please contact Eric Tribunella