English Helps Us Celebrate What Makes Us Human


SUMMARY: JMU English Professor Danielle Price shares why she became an English professor and of the importance of Children's literature.

Specialization: Children’s Literature

Professor Danielle Price is one of JMU English’s most recent faculty additions. She joined the department in the fall of 2018.

Dr. Price’s Background
"I moved from my hometown of Ottawa, where I got my undergraduate degree, to Los Angeles, where I attended UCLA and received my PhD. I learned as much by living in Los Angeles as I did by taking courses. The Santa Monica Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the teeming city, the food I ate, and the people I met: these changed my life."

“As a child, books were a world I escaped to. I read for fun. I never thought I would study English at university.  I changed majors at least twice before deciding on English. It wasn’t a straight path. I thought I’d be a doctor, then I switched to Economics. I took an Introduction to Poetry class as an elective. It was a night class. I was hooked by it. The professor wrote life-changing words on my final essay:

If you haven’t thought about becoming an English major, you should.

And so, I did.


What was your first job?
"I delivered newspapers, babysat, and when I was an undergrad, worked in an office every summer. The best thing about that summer office job was feeding pigeons on my lunch break. The job helped pay for university, and it also taught me what I didn't want to do. I knew I did not want to sit in an office all day. I wanted room to talk about ideas. I wanted to shape what I did."

Potential Careers for English Majors
“English majors think clearly and work through ideas. People who think well, speak well, and write well are indispensable and will be able to find a career. Think about all the information that comes our way. English majors are the most highly prepared to process it, the best communicators and writers.”





What is your chief goal as an educator?
“To encourage students to think deeply about issues, and to assist them in being able to develop their skills in other classes and in the world outside of the classroom.”

Key for being an effective writer
“I learned not to aim for perfection. Don’t worry so much about having an academic voice. The ideas are what matter. Read a lot; read for your own enjoyment.”

What is the importance of children’s literature?
Children’s literature is our first encounter with the pleasures of books. Nursery rhymes, board books, and picture books show us the delights of literature and prepare us to be readers. Children’s literature constitutes part of our earliest development and provides us with a shared cultural foundation in a time when the vast majority of Americans do not read for pleasure. Thus it seems especially important to consider both the pleasures and the politics of the literature we first encounter.

“In 2004, roughly 28 percent of Americans age 15 and older read for pleasure on a given day. Last year, the figure was about 19 percent.” See Washington Post Article

“Children’s Lit is incredibly important [for everyone].”

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Published: Saturday, October 19, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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