Ramona Caponegro

A photo of Ramona Caponegro


English Language and Literature

603D Pray-Harrold


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., University of Florida
  • MA, University of Florida
  • BA (Honors), Saint Louis University

Interests and Expertise

Ramona Caponegro is a Professor of Children’s Literature. She joined EMU as an assistant professor in 2011, and she teaches a variety of classes, including multicultural and global children’s literature and illustrated texts. She enjoys teaching academic service-learning courses and has collaborated with 826michigan and Estabrook Elementary School on AS-L classes. In Fall 2020, she will be an EMU Bright Futures Faculty Fellow. She has also taught children’s literature classes as part of EMU’s College-in-Prison Program. In 2016, she received the university’s highest honor, the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award, for teaching. She has also received recognition as the Honors College Faculty Member of the Year and as the recipient of the Dale Rice Award for Outstanding Academic Service-Learning Community Partnership. From 2017-2019, she served as the Associate Director of The Honors College.
Ramona has published essays and given presentations about representations of incarceration and other social justice issues in children’s and young adult literature, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and early readers. She is currently editing a special issue of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly about representations of criminal justice systems for young people and has forthcoming chapters about the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection and the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature.
She is a member of the Ezra Jack Keats Award 35th Anniversary Leadership Team, and she is the ALSC chair of the Pura Belpré Award 25th Anniversary Task Force. She serves as the chair of the Children’s Literature Association’s Phoenix Picture Book Award Committee, and she was the 2019 chair of the Pura Belpré Award Selection Committee. She is also finishing a five-year term on the Executive Committee of the Forum on Children’s and Young Adult Literature for the Modern Language Association, and she is on the Coordinating Team for the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival and a member of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Children’s Literature Medallion Selection Committee and the Mazza Museum’s Summer Conference Committee.


  • CHL 207 Introduction to Children's Literature
  • CHL 208 Multicultural Children's Literature
  • CHL 209 Global Children's Literature
  • CHL 451-W Writing about Controversy in Literature for the Young
  • CHL 453 Illustrated Texts: Picture Books, Comics, and Graphic Novels
  • CHL 455 Adolescent Literature
  • CHL 517 Children's Literature for Teachers
  • CHL 583 Illustrated Texts
  • CHL 584 Literature for Adolescents
  • CHL 586 Multicultural Children's Literature
  • CHL 588 Topics in Children's Literature: Children's Book Awards

Publications and Presentations

Selected Publications
  • “Introduction: Special Issue on Criminal Justice Systems in Children’s Literature and Media.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 46.4 (2021). Forthcoming.
  • “S is for Series Books.” B is for Baldwin: An Alphabet Tour of the Baldwin Library. Ed. Suzan Alteri. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. Forthcoming.
  • “Contemporary Writers.” The de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. Eds. Carolyn Brown, Ellen Ruffin, and Eric Tribunella. Oxford, MS: UP of Mississippi, 2020. Forthcoming.
  • Peter’s Legacy: The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.” Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards. Ed. Kenneth Kidd and Joseph Thomas. New York and London: Routledge, 2017. 118-129.
  • “From The New England Primer to The Cat in the Hat: Big Steps in the Growth and Development of Early Readers.” The Early Reader in Children’s Literature and Culture. Ed. Jennifer Miskec and Annette Wannamaker. New York and London: Routledge, 2016. 13-25.
  • Review of Marek C. Oziewicz’s Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction: A Cognitive Reading. The Lion and the Unicorn 40.3 (2016): 357-360.
  • “Prizing Social Justice: The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.” Ethics and Children’s Literature. Ed. Claudia Mills. Surrey: Ashgate, 2015. 207-221.
  • Review of Michelle Ann Abate's Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children's Literature. The Lion and the Unicorn 37.3 (2013).
Selected Presentations
  • “Vivan Los Libros: Picture Book Recipients of the Pura Belpré Award.” Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art’s Summer Conference. Findlay, Ohio. July 15-17, 2019.
  • “Phoenix Award Roundtable: Remarks on The Tree of Hope.” Children’s Literature Association’s Annual Conference. Indianapolis, Indiana. June 13-15, 2019.
  • “Editing and Engineering Children’s Literature." Panel Organizer and Chair. Modern Language Association Conference. New York, New York. 4-7 January 2018.
  • “Reading as a Prison Oasis and Proof of Innocence: Anne Carroll Moore’s Steadfast Belief in Leo Frank.” Children’s Literature Association’s Annual Conference. San Antonio, Texas. June 28-30, 2018.
  • “Advocating for Justice Through Children’s Literature.” Invited Talk for The Honors College’s Star Lecture Series. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. October 18, 2016.
  • “Graphic Novels Galore: Maximizing Their Uses in the Classroom.” Presented with Becky Wank. Mazza Museum of International Picture Book Art’s Summer Conference. University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio. July 18-22, 2016.
  • Invited Respondent to Mollie’s Blackburn’s Keynote, “Talking about Intersectionality (or Not) in a High School LGBT-Themed Young Adult Literature Course.” National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research Conference. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. February 5-7, 2016.
  • "Behind Bars and Beyond Them: Issues of Incarceration in Domestic and International Children’s Books.” International Board on Books for Young People’s 11th Regional Conference. Manhattan, New York. October 16-18, 2015.
  • “Peter’s Legacy: What’s at Stake with the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award?” 42nd Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Richmond, Virginia. June 18-20, 2015.
  • “Literature of the Holocaust and Continuing Social Justice Concerns.” Witnesses to the Holocaust: Teacher Seminar. Farmington Hills, Michigan. August 11-15, 2014.

Selected Professional Service

  • American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Award, Summer 2013-present.
    -ALSC Chair of the 25th Anniversary Taskforce, Winter 2019-present.
    -Chair of the 2019 Award Selection Committee, Summer 2017-Summer 2019.
    -Member of the 2015 Award Selection Committee, Summer 2013-Summer 2015.
  • Ezra Jack Keats Award 35th Anniversary Leadership Team, Fall 2019-present.
  • Children’s Literature Association Phoenix Picture Book Award Committee, Summer 2016-present.
    -Chair, Summer 2018-present.
  • Modern Language Association’s Executive Committee for the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Forum, Winter 2016-present.
  • University of Southern Mississippi’s Children’s Literature Medallion Selection Committee, Fall 2018-present.
  • Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books Summer Conference Committee, Fall 2013-present.