Imagine Otherwise: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas on Leaving No One Behind

Imagine Otherwise: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas on Leaving No One Behind

May 23, 2019

In the latest Imagine Otherwise episode, I interview education professor and young adult novelist Ebony Elizabeth Thomas about why young adult fantasy and speculative fiction is so popular with adults and media companies alike in our current moment, Ebony’s recommendations for recent and awesome speculative fiction by and about people of color, how writing in creative genres like fan fiction and novels can enliven scholarship, and why studying, championing, and creating children’s literature that leaves no one behind is how Ebony imagines otherwise.


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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Ebony’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas wearing a pink sweater and shell earrings

Guest: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is an associate professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she was a member of the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color’s 2008–2010 cohort, served on the NCTE Conference on English Education’s Executive Committee from 2013 until 2017, and is the immediate past chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research.

Currently, she serves as co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English, and her most recent book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019).

Key quote

“I could not have written The Dark Fantastic without all of the pieces of the puzzle in place. So the child reader, the would-be creative writer, the scholar, the critic, but then also the K–12 teacher who was desperately searching for diverse speculative fiction for my fifth graders and then my high schoolers.”

– Ebony Elizabeth Thomas on episode 89 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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