Main Menu Summer 2013

Violet Harris

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Reading Education, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 1986
  • M.A., Reading, Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1980
  • B.A., History, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, 1978

Key Professional Appointments

  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007-present
  • Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998-present
  • Department Head, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-2002
  • Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992-1998
  • Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986-1992
  • Instructor, Developmental Studies, Keenesaw College, Marietta, Georgia, 1980-1983

Activities & Honors

  • Co-Editor, AERJ-TLHD, AERA, 2010-present
  • Board Member, Reading Research Quarterly, 2007-present
  • Multicultural Literature Board, Reading Is Fundamental, Inc., 2007-present
  • Board Member, Voices from the Middle-NCTE, 2006-present
  • Editorial Board Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 2001-present
  • Fellow, National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, 1998-present
  • Reviewer, Educational Researcher, AERA, 2012-
  • Reviewers, Review of Educational Research, AERA, 2012-
  • Chair of the Literature Advisory Board, Reading Is Fundamental, Inc., 2007-2012
  • Promotion and Tenure Review, Wheaton College, 2010-
  • Member, CEE-Conference on English Education, National Council of Teachers of English-CEE, 2006-2010
  • Mentor for Cultivating New Voices, National Council of Teachers of English, 2004-2008
  • Reviewer, Educational Researcher, 2004-2006
  • I served as a member of the committee to select the division's recipient of the dissertation of the , AERA, Division G, 2004-2006
  • Editorial Board Member, Editorial Board, Reading Research Quarterly, 2000-2005
  • Reviewer, State University of New York at Albany, 2004-
  • Member, Canon II-Eight part television series on the teaching of multicultural literature, Thirteen/WNET-New York, 2002-2004
  • Chair, AERA/Spencer Pre-Dissertation Fellowship Committee, American Educational Research Association, 2002-2004
  • Member, Children's Literature Panel, Children's Defense Fund, 2000-2004
  • Member, Executive Committee, NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature, 2002-2003
  • Editor, The New Advocate, 2000-2003
  • Distinguished Senior Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001-2002
  • University Scholar, Board of Trustees, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995

Research Statement

I maintain active interest and conduct research in the areas of children's literature, multicultural children's literature, children's book publishing, the historic development of African American literacy, and the creation of literacy materials created specifically for African Americans. More broadly, I am interested in literacy, socio-cultural influences on literacy and schooling, and teacher education.

Currently, I am working on a content analysis of historic literacy materials for African American children and monitoring two trends in children's literature: biracial/multiracial children and religion.

My future research projects will focus more on analyzing specific authors, illustrators, and genres in children's literature and analyzing trends in publishing.


  • Principal Investigator, Implementation of Professional Development Activities in the Reading Excellence Act, Illinois State Board of Education, 2002-2002
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989-1989

Select Publications

  • Harris, V. (2012). Response. Journal of Children's Literature. , 2 ms pp..
  • Harris, V. (2011). "Stories From the Hopescape." The Reading Teacher, 64, 380-82.
  • Harris, V. (2009). "We, Too, Sing America." The Reading Teacher, 62, 450-455.
  • Harris, V. (2008). "Selecting Books That Children Will Want to Read." The Reading Teacher, 61, 426-430.
  • Harris, V. (2007). In Praise of a Scholarly Force. Language Arts, 85(2), 153-159.
  • Harris, V. (2007). Master narratives and oppositional texts: Aesthetics and Black literature for youth. The handbook of research in the arts, part two. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Harris, V. (2006). [Review of Brown gold: Milestones of African-American picture books]. Lion and the Unicorn.
  • Harris, V. (2003). The complexity of debates about multicultural literature and cultural authenticity. Cultural authenticity in children's literature. National Council of Teachers of English: Urbana, IL.
  • Harris, V. (2003). Multicultural issues in literacy research and practice. Erlbaum: Malwah, NJ.
  • Willis, A., Harris, V. (2003). Threads of connection: A conversation with Bryan Collier, illustrator. The New Advocate, 16(2), 97-104.
  • Harris, V., McCarthey, S. (2002). A conversation with James Cross Giblin. The New Advocate, 15(3), 175-182.
  • Spodek, B., Barrera, R., Harris, V. (2002). In touch with kids: A conversation with Jean Marzollo. The New Advocate, 15(2), 91-100.
  • Harris, V., Barrera, R. (2002). Images of literacy and literature in Cuba. The New Advocate, 15(1), 68-70.
  • Harris, V. (2002). Multicultural literature. Literacy in America: An encyclopedia of history, theory, and practice. Longman: New York.
  • Harris, V. (2001). An interview with Effie Lee Morris. New Advocate, 14(3), 277-84.
  • McCarthey, S., Dressman, M., Smolkin, L., McGill-Franzen, A., Harris, V. (2000). How will diversity affect literacy in the next millennium? Reading Research Quarterly, 35(4), 548-52.
  • Harris, V. (1999). Applying critical theories to children's literature. Theory into practice, 28(3), 137-154.
  • Harris, V., Rosales, M. (1998). Biracial and multiracial identity: Another paradox for children’s literature. Literature-based instruction: Present issues, future directions. Christopher-Gordon: Norwood, MA.
  • Harris, V. (1997). Why are you always giving us that Black, Latino, Gay, Asian (fill-in-the-blank) stuff? The multicultural catalogue. The New Press: New York.
  • Harris, V. (1997). The depiction of Blacks in children's literature. Using multiethnic literature in grades K-8. Christopher-Gordon Publishers: Norwood, MA.
  • Harris, V. (1996). Continuining dilemnas, debates, and delights in multicultural literature for children. The New Advocate, 9(2), 107-122.
  • Harris, V. (1994). Reflections of a basal author. Journal of Children's Literature, 20, 49-54.
  • Harris, V. (1994). No invitations required to share multicultural literature. Journal of Children's Literature. 20, 9-13.
  • Harris, V. (1994). Historic Readers for African American Children: Reclaiming a tradition of resistance. Too much schooling, too little education. Africa World Press: New York.
  • Harris, V. (1994). Multiculturalism and children's literature: An evaluation of ideology, publishing, curricula, and research. Forty-third yearbook - National Reading Conference.
  • Trousdale, A., Harris, V. (1993). Missing links in literary response: Group interpretations of literature. Children's Literature in Education. 24, 195-205.
  • Harris, V. (1992). Teaching multicultural literature in grades K-8. Christopher-Gordon: Norwood, MA.

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