The History of CCL/LCJ from 1975-2005
CCL/LCJ's founding editors (English Professors John Robert Sorfleet, Elizabeth Waterston, Glenys Stow, and Mary Henley Rubio) began the journal in 1975 at the University of Guelph because there was no serious scholarly journal about children's literature in Canada. Canadian academic journals treating adult literature ignored the field of children's literature. There were few academic journals about children's literature in either the U.S.A., Britain, or Europe at that time, and the existing ones did not cover Canadian materials. In fact, neither Canadian nor international researchers had any source for locating in-depth information about Canada's literature for children. And if Canadian scholars were to write serious articles on the field, treating either current or historical topics, they had no place to publish their research. All that was available were the timely but short descriptive reviews of children's books in Quill & Quire (which served the book trade) and In Review (a now-defunct publication of the Ontario provincial library service). If Canadian children's literature was to be seen at all, either in Canada or on the world stage, and if it was to be taken seriously as a cultural product (as adult literature was), it needed serious scrutiny. CCL/LCJ stepped into that role.
The founding editors all taught literature at Guelph -- British, American, and Canadian -- and were operating in an English department that was then beginning to examine the impact of colonialism and cross-cultural influences on Canada, a nation comprised of native peoples and immigrants from many countries (with a majority from the British Isles and France). As parents and scholars, the editors were convinced that the stories told or read to children played a substantial role in identity-formation, in acculturation, and, most important, in international understanding. They saw that children's literature and culture were becoming a powerful and contested economic force. They also saw that the study of a nation's literature for children provided an excellent way for outsiders to study a country's culture. For these reasons, the founding editors of CCL/LCJ dedicated their journal to collecting, analysing, and distributing information about the children's literature in Canada in hopes that this field which had been invisible might be identified and grow. CCL/LCJ would carry serious analysis of Canadian books to those who worked with children, to those who were introducing courses in children's literature into university curricula, and to international scholars who were mapping the impact of colonialism and globalization in a world-wide cultural context. From our own teaching, we could see that children's literature from the British Isles had been an extremely influential feature in the 19th and 20th century British colonization process around the world.
In the next decade after its founding, CCL/LCJ expanded to become bilingual, covering francophone children's literature in Canadian, with the help first of Professor François Paré (1983) and then of Professor Daniel Chouinard (1992), both faculty members at Guelph. CCL's editorial team welcomed Marie C. Davis (1990) as the other senior editors (first J. R. Sorfleet, the first Editor in 1975; then Glenys Stow, and eventually Elizabeth Waterston) moved on. Daniel Chouinard, Marie C. Davis, and Mary Rubio continued as co-editors until 2005. Throughout these years, both the book and entertainment industries for children developed immensely worldwide, and Canadian books and films gained international recognition and distribution. CCL/LCJ both assisted in and chronicled this advancement. The field of children's literature itself began to move into an important place in the academy in Canada and elsewhere.
CCL/LCJ itself expanded as the field grew, with help from Contributing Editors at other universities across Canada (Hélène Beauchamp, Carole Carpenter, Joanne Findon, James C. Greenlaw, Cornelia Hoogland, Marlene Kadar, Roderick McGillis, Claudia Mitchell, Perry Nodelman, Jason Nolan, Lissa Paul, Suzanne Pouliot, Mavis Reimer, and Judith Saltman); from graduate students (Kate Wood, Kristyn Dunnion, Katie Donohue, Kathy Jia, Marissa McHugh, and Benjamin Lefebvre, who helped in the Administrator's role and served as Assistant Editor from 2001 until 2005); and from several dedicated and long-serving Administrators at Guelph, especially Barbara Conolly and Gay Christofides. CCL was given financial assistance by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, by the University of Guelph, and from interested individuals. Linda Day, of the University of Guelph Library, produced an annotated, electronically searchable index to all CCL/LCJ's issues for the website. This index provided a comprehensive resource for anyone -- anywhere in the world -- who wanted to do research in children's literature in Canada, in Canadian culture, in cross-cultural influences, or in the culture of childhood.
In 2005, after 30 years at the University of Guelph, with 116 issues produced, CCL moved to the University of Winnipeg.
Mary Henley Rubio
University Professor Emeritus
University of Guelph