I was accepted to give a paper for Sirens again, this time about princesses in picture books. (Last year, I did one on haunted toys in middle grade lit.) So, it’s getting down to the wire, it seems, even though I won’t read until October. You see, I set a task that is possibly ginormous; I’m even now paring down what to focus on lest my brain explode. This week, I had to go through an email folder where I’d emailed myself a bunch of links (and a phone folder of photos I took in bookstores instead of writing things down), so this is where I’m starting with my review of what a princess looks/is/feels/subtexts like in picture books. I’m trying to limit things to post-2000ish picture books, and trying to look at the more generic princesses in books and on covers, rather than fairy tale retellings (which I will look at for reference and interest and argument), though I reserve the right to throw in a few, as well as a few nonfiction princess books. I’m also looking more at books that I think may have had a wider release; in other words, I will not be looking at certain books that are maybe only available through subscription services and the like.
Here’s what my research has netted so far. I’m sure I’ll find more as I continue–and I really hope my local library has some of these in circulation.
Note that I haven’t checked over any of these yet–they’re not yet using the same format, I didn’t always note the illustrator or author, I didn’t take down publisher, etc. This is very preliminary!
I’m late to posting about this, because I had a surprise bout of summer malaise (!), but this year, Sirens raised money–or perhaps more accurately, the fantastic community that surrounds Sirens raised money–to fund some scholarships. Some of the scholarships are scholarships in the traditional sense, and have been awarded to conference presentations of particular merit and their presenters; I wish we could have had more to give. Other scholarships have been provided to Con or Bust, an organization that works to helps people who are not white attend speculative fiction conventions (three scholarships have been claimed; one additional scholarship, donated separately, remains), and to Sirens specifically to help people for whom attending the conference represents a financial hardship.
The last, for financial hardships, requires a very brief and non-invasive application for the upcoming random selection. That application is due today! Apply here.
I hope this is something we’re able to keep doing in years to come. In the past, staff donated to organizations when we could, and awarded scholarships when we had donated registrations, but we thought, I think rightly, that a collective effort would not only help people attend, but that the collective effort would work to welcome potential scholarship recipients, and raise awareness among regular attendees of ways they can help support community year-round. I really am, always, humbled by how much attendees of Sirens want to welcome others into the fold.