Tuesday, November 21, 2023

James Joshua (Josh) Coleman, assistant professor of English Education, is the recipient of two more awards for his research on how activism challenges beliefs that ban LGBTQ+ children’s literature from libraries and schools.

Portrait of Joshua Coleman, English education assistant professor
Josh Coleman

Coleman received the Children’s Literature Assembly Research Award and the Children’s Literature Assembly Early Career Award, both recently bestowed at the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention in Columbus, Ohio.

The awards support Coleman’s research on the “Banned Childhoods” project, also funded by a National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship.

“As children’s literature featuring LGBTQ+ and BIPOC characters continue to be removed from library and classroom shelves, this award affirms my research and the continued need for advocacy for the right to read for every young person in schools across the United States,” Coleman says.

From July 2021 to June 2022, more than 2,532 book bans took place across the U.S., and these affected 138 school districts in 32 states and more than four million students, according to research conducted by Friedman and Johnson in 2022.

The Children’s Literature Assembly Research Award provides grants of $1,000 for original research addressing significant questions related to the field of children’s literature. The Children’s Literature Assembly Early Career Award recognizes the work of one early career individual who shows extraordinary promise as a researcher and leader in the field of children’s literature. It is awarded every other year.

“It was two separate committees that decided these awards and so it’s a true delight and shock to be awarded both simultaneously,” Coleman adds.

The Children’s Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English is a professional community of children’s literature enthusiasts who advocate the centrality of literature in children’s academic and personal lives. The organization promotes the belief that every teacher needs a wide and extensive knowledge base of books published for children and young adults.

Coleman’s research draws upon social science and humanities-based research traditions to integrate queer and trans studies scholarship with educational research.  His work explores how queer and trans educators use storytelling to support their own wellbeing as well as the study of LGBTQ+ youth literature to build understanding and awareness for all students. 

Coleman’s publications can be found in Teachers College Record, Teaching and Teacher Education, Reading Research Quarterly, Written Communication, English Education, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. His research has received awards from the AERA Queer SIG and the Conference on College Composition & Communication.

His co-authored book, "Restorying Young Adult Literature: Expanding Students’ Perspectives with Digital Texts," also recently received a 2024 Divergent Award for Excellence in Literacy in a Digital Age Research Publication Award, given by the Initiative for Literacy in a Digital Age Research.

Coleman received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. He additionally holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and French literature from Mercer University.