PHILADELPHIA — Lawrence Sipe, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, has been named a Fellow of Munich’s International Youth Library, a collection of more than 600,000 children’s books. The fellowship began on March 1 and will end May 31. Sipe is an authority in early-childhood literacy development.
This fellowship is one of 12 offered this year, and Sipe is the only scholar from the U.S. for 2009.
Receiving this fellowship will enable him to study for three months at the library, which houses the largest collection of children’s books in the world in a 16th-century castle, Schloss Blutenburg.
Sipe is studying how international picture books make use of “peritextual” elements, a term used by the French literary critic Gerard Genette, such as the front and back covers, dust jacket, title page and dedication page.
These elements “surround” the story and help children to predict the plot, characters, setting and tone or mood of the story, before they actually begin to read the book.
Sipe’s research focuses on the ways young children create meaning through picture books and how literature for children reflects or subverts cultural norms.