Ramona Caponegro

A photo of Ramona Caponegro

Associate Professor

English Language and Literature

603D Pray-Harrold




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

Interests and Expertise

I joined EMU's Department of English Language and Literature in 2011 as an assistant professor of children's literature. My research interests include representations of social justice in children's and young adult literature, multicultural children's literature, the history of children's librarianship and publishing in the United States, children's book awards, picture books and early readers.
I am currently finishing two articles about the relationship between Anne Carroll Moore, one of the pioneers of children's librarianship, and Leo Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent who was wrongfully convicted of murder and lynched. Frank was one of Moore's first library patrons, and, more than a decade later, she became a fierce advocate for his innocence. I am also working on a book-length project about representations of the legal system in children's and young adult fiction. Arguing that books about criminals and the legal culture can be considered works of multicultural children's literature, I examine the depictions of race, class and gender, as well as the system itself, that can be found in children's books about the criminal justice system written during the Victorian era and the last 25 years, both times of exponential prison growth.


  • CHL 207 Introduction to Children's Literature
  • CHL 208 Multicultural Children's Literature
  • CHL 451-W Writing about Controversy in Literature for the Young (cross-listed as an academic service-learning course)
  • CHL 453 Illustrated Texts: Picture Books, Comics, and Graphic Novels
  • CHL 455 Adolescent Literature
  • CHL 583 Illustrated Texts
  • CHL 584 Literature for Adolescents
  • CHL 586 Multicultural Children's Literature

Publications and Presentations

  • "Prizing Social Justice: The Jane Addams Children's Book Award." Ethics and Children's Literature. Ed. Claudia Mills. (Under review with Ashgate Press.)
  • Review of Michelle Ann Abate's Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children's Literature. The Lion and the Unicorn 37.3 (2013).
  • "Where the 'Bad' Girls Are (Contained): Representations of the 1950s Female Juvenile Delinquent in Children's Literature and Ladies' Home Journal." Children's Literature Association Quarterly 34.4 (2009): 312–329.
  • "The Accidental Sleuth: Investigating Mysteries and Class in Three Series for Girls." Clues: A Journal of Detection 27.1 (2009): 11–21.
  • "Recess!—Exploring the Cultures of Childhood." The Looking Glass: An On-Line Children's Literature Journal 11.2 (2007).
  • "Literature of the Holocaust and Continuing Social Justice Concerns." Witnesses to the Holocaust: Teacher Seminar. Farmington Hills, Michigan. August 12–16, 2013.
  • "Playing with Justice and Risking Ideals: Adolescent Witnesses, Anne Carroll Moore, and the Trial of Leo Frank." 40th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference. Biloxi, Mississippi. June 13–15, 2013.
  • "Prizing Social Justice: The Jane Addams Children's Book Award and Its Recipients in the Past Decade." Ethics and Children's Literature Symposium. The Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana. September 13–16, 2012.
  • "Picture Books for Justice: Jane Addams Children's Book Award Winners." Mazza Museum Summer Conference. Findlay, Ohio. July 16–20, 2012.
  • "From The Snowy Day to the Present Day: Multicultural Picture Books." The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Amherst, Massachusetts. June 23, 2012.
  • "On the Other Side of the Bars: Child Characters with Incarcerated Parents." 39th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference. Boston, Massachusetts. June 14–16, 2012.
  • "Aiming for Justice for All: The Jane Addams Children's Book Award Recipients." Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. Hattiesburg, Mississippi. April 11–13, 2012.
  • "The Jury's Still Out: The Juvenile Justice System in Recent Young Adult Novels." 37th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference. Roanoke, Virginia. June 23–25, 2011.

Selected Professional Service

  • Co-editor of the Children's Literature Association Newsletter
  • ALSC representative to the American Library Association Recruitment Assembly
  • Conference committee member of the Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books