Philip Nel knows first-hand about refugees and diaspora. His parents emigrated to the United States, and he has relatives living in five countries spread over four continents. But he knows the negatives of this experience - he probably would not have been born in the U.S. if his parents had been black South Africans instead of white South Africans. All these things drove Nel, a University Distinguished Professor of English and director of the Graduate Program in Children's Literature at Kansas State University, to put together a special issue of Children's Literature Association Quarterly on displacement—voluntary, involuntary, cultural, emotional, geographical—and its effects on children.
Because of the current refugees crisis and the U.S. government's actions, Nel found the issue vitally important to examine from many different perspectives. The six essays in the issue examine multiple international and historical perspectives on displacement. Nel joined us to talk about the issue as well as the current situation for migrants and refugees.