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Violet Harris

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor Emerita, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Awards, Honors, Associations

NCTE Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award, National Council of Teachers of English, 2015

Research & Service

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.


Kiramba, L. K., & Harris, V. J. (2019). Navigating Authoritative Discourses in a Multilingual Classroom: Conversations With Policy and Practice. TESOL Quarterly, 53(2), 456-481.  link >

Harris, V. J. (2013). African American children’s literature: The first one hundred years. In Freedom’s Plow: Teaching in the Multicultural Classroom (pp. 167-183). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Harris, V. J. (2011). Stories From Hopescapes. Reading Teacher, 64(5), 380-382.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2011). Editorial statement. American Educational Research Journal, 48(4), 936-937.  link >

Harris, V. (2009). We, too, sing America. Reading Teacher, 62(5), 450-455.  link >

Harris, V. J. (2008). Selecting books that children will want to read. Reading Teacher, 61(5), 426-430.  link >

Harris, V. (2007). In Praise of a Scholarly Force: Rudine Sims Bishop. Language Arts, 85(2), 153-159.

Harris, V. J. (2007). Master Narratives and Oppositional Texts: Aesthetics and Black Literature for Youth. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International Handbook of Research in Arts Education (pp. 1007-1020). (Springer International Handbooks of Education; Vol. 16). Springer.  link >

Harris, V. J. (2006). Review: M. H. Martin's Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002. Lion and the Unicorn, 30(2), 274-279.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2003). Afterword. In A. I. Willis, G. E. Garcia, R. B. Barrera, & V. J. Harris (Eds.), Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice (pp. 289-293). Taylor and Francis.

Willis, A. I., Garcia, G. E., Barrera, R. B., & Harris, V. J. (Eds.) (2003). Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice. Erlbaum.  link >

Harris, V., & Willis, A. I. (2002). WILLIAM EDWARD BURGHARDT DU BOIS 1868–1963. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 212-219). Routledge.  link >

Spodek, B., Barrera, R., & Harris, V. (2002). In Touch with Kids: A Conversation with Jean Marzollo. New Advocate.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. (2002). ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER 1858–1964. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 169-177). Routledge.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., Dressman, M., Smolkin, L., McGill-Franzen, A., & Harris, V. J. (2000). How will diversity affect literacy in the next millennium? Reading Research Quarterly, 35(4), 548-552.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2000). Political acts: Literacy learning and teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 35(1), 72-88.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1999). Applying critical theories to children's literature. Theory Into Practice, 38(3), 147-154.  link >

García, G. E., Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1998). Introduction: Appropriating and Creating Space for Difference in Literacy Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 30(2), 181-186.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1997). Re-emergence of a Harlem Renaissance gem. Lion and the Unicorn, 21(3), 449-452.  link >

Harris, V. J. (Ed.) (1997). Using Multiethnic Literature in the K-8 Classroom. Christopher-Gordon.

Reese, D. A., & Harris, V. J. (1997). "Look at this nest!" the beauty and power of using informational books with young children. Early Child Development and Care, 127(1), 217-231.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1997). Expanding the boundaries: A reaction to the First-Grade Studies. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(4), 439-445.  link >

Harris, V. (1996). Continuing Dilemmas, Debates, and Delights in Multicultural Literature. New Advocate.

Garcia, G., Stephens, D., Koenke, K., Harris, V., Pearson, P., Jimenez, R., & Janish, C. (1995). Reading instruction and educational opportunity at the middle school level. (CSR Technical Reports; No. 622). Center for the Study of Reading.

Harris, V. (1994). Historic Readers for African-American Children (1868-1944): Uncovering and Reclaiming a Tradition of Opposition. In M. J. Shujaa (Ed.), Too Much Schooling, Too Little Education: A Paradox of Black Life in White Societies (pp. 143-178). Africa World Press.

Harris, V., Yokota, J., Johnson, G., & de Cortes, O. G. (1993). Bookalogues: Multicultural Literature. Language Arts, 70(3), 215-224.

Harris, V. J. (1993). Chapter 6: Literature-Based Approaches to Reading Instruction. Review of Research in Education, 19(1), 269-297.  link >

Harris, V. (1993). Evaluating children's books for whole-language learning. In B. G. Hearne, & R. Sutton (Eds.), Evaluating children’s books: a critical look: aesthetic, social, and political aspects of analyzing and using children’s books (pp. 47-57). University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Trousdale, A. M., & Harris, V. J. (1993). Missing links in literary response: Group interpretation of literature. Childrens Literature in Education, 24(3), 195-207.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1992). African-American Conceptions of Literacy: A Historical Perspective. Theory Into Practice, 31(4), 276-286.  link >

Harris, V. J. (Ed.) (1992). Teaching Multicultural Literature in Grades K-8. Christopher-Gordon.

Harris, V. J. (1991). "Have you heard about an African cinderella story?": The hunt for multiethnic literature. Publishing Research Quarterly, 7(3), 23-36.  link >

Harris, V. (1991). Multicultural Curriculum: African American Children's Literature. Young Children, 46(2), 37-44.

Harris, V. J. (1991). Review: D. Johnson's Telling Tales: The Pedagogy and Power of African American Literature for Youth. The Journal of Negro Education, 60(3), 492-494.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1990). African American Children's Literature: The First One Hundred Years. The Journal of Negro Education, 59(4), 540-555.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1990). Benefits of Children's Literature. The Journal of Negro Education, 59(4), 538-539.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1990). From Little Black Sambo to Popo and Fifina: Arna Bontemps and the Creation of African-American Children's Literature. Lion and the Unicorn, 14(1), 108-127.  link >

Harris, V. J. (1989). Race Consciousness, Refinement, and Radicalism: Socialization in The Brownies' Book. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 14(4), 192-196.  link >