Children’s Literature Association Honors Simmons University Scholar Marilisa Jiménez García

Marilisa Jiménez García, an associate professor of children’s literature at Simmons University in Boston, received the Children’s Literature Association’s 2023 Book Award. She is the first Latina to win the award.

Dr. Jiménez García was honored for her book Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 2021). The book is the first extensive study of Puerto Rican and diasporic writers of youth literature during the twentieth century. The phrase “side by side” refers to the peculiar power dynamic that constituted the colonial relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, which became embedded in youth literature.

Dr. Jiménez García intends for her monograph to supplement and, ultimately, challenge the master narrative of U.S. history. “Empire is as old as time,” she says, “and you don’t learn this history in school. Moreover, most students do not learn about non-continental U.S. history, like that of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, or even states like Hawaii and Alaska. But you learn so much about your own history when you learn about these smaller spaces that make up the whole.”

Before joining the faculty at Simmon University, Dr. Jiménez García taught at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

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