Sarah Park Dahlen, PhD, was one of 10 women honored as a Changemaker by the Minnesota Women’s Press last night.
“All of us at St. Kate’s are thrilled to see Sarah honored for her groundbreaking work,” said Becky Roloff ‘76, president of St. Catherine University. “She is leading the change to increase diversity in children’s books and ensure that all children are reflected in youth literature and without stereotypes or prejudice.”
Celebrating its 35th year, the Minnesota Women’s Press is the longest continuously run feminist print publication in the country. The gala, held in the Rauenhorst Ballroom at Coeur de Catherine, included inspiring messages from women like Anika Bowie, Winona LaDuke, Sarah Super, Tea Rozman Clark, and Asma Mohammed and reinforced the power of storytelling as the publication launches a year of stories that encourage readers to see their world in a different way.
An associate professor in the Master of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University, Dahlen teaches courses on youth materials and library services, storytelling, and library science. She is a nationally recognized scholar and expert in children’s literature.
Dahlen most recently sparked national conversation with an updated infographic she created with illustrator David Huyck. The infographic uses “[d]ata on books by and about people of color and from First/Native Nations published for children and teens compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison” to depict the percentage of characters from diverse backgrounds in children’s literature. She also co-founded and co-edits with Gabrielle Atwood Halko the open-access journal “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature”, which is hosted at St. Catherine University. Dahlen serves as the community liaison for “Mirrors and Windows,” a fellowship that mentors Indigenous writers and writers of color of children’s literature at The Loft Literary Center.
“I’m honored to be recognized as a changemaker by the Minnesota Women’s Press and thankful for the support I’ve received from St. Catherine University to do this work,” said Dahlen. “I’m also thankful to be doing this work in community with fellow children’s literature scholar activists, librarians, teachers, writers, illustrators, editors, students, and others who are pushing for change in the world of children’s literature.”