Public Sphere


Projects and productions of the Center include:

John Cech is the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Florida.  The Center is dedicated to the exploration, study, and creation of works that enrich the cultural lives of children and young people.  The Center draws its members from across the disciplines of the university community; from teachers, librarians, and media specialists and other working directly with children; from policy makers, parents, and other concerned adults; and from artists and writers who are creating works for children in print and other forms.

Recess! -- a daily public radio program aired  to an audience of millions of public radio listeners across the  country, literally from Florida to Alaska and from California to Virginia.

John Cech was the originator, the producer, and the host of this program that has been called by one of its listeners “The New Yorker of kids’ stuff.”  From 1999 - 2007, “Recess!” offered a wide range of programs about the dynamic cultures of childhood -- the ones that we adults remember and those that our children are living today.  Films, books, music, television, the internet, toys, games, folklore, comics, the arts, “Recess!” covered these and other subjects in just three minutes every day, through a mix of commentaries, reviews, sound essays, stories, interviews, and biographical and historical notes.  For examples of the program, click here.  And for more information about the program, visit the “Recess!” website at:

Conversations in Children’s Literature, a regular series of presentations and discussions about various aspects of children’s literature and culture. The series is aimed at teachers, librarians, academics, writers, and all adults who value the books and cultural materials that are produced for children. Reflecting our desire for an inclusive, multidisciplinary look at children’s literature, the series approaches the creation, distribution, and uses of children’s

books from a multitude of perspectives.

Conversations in Children’s Literature is sponsored by the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture and the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature.  For more information about any of the talks or to be added to the Conversations listserv, which will provide information about future speakers, please contact Ramona Caponegro at or at (352) 392-6650, ext. 290.

Transforming Encounters

    A series of interdisciplinary colloquia, held at the University of Florida.  These annual  conferences  have addressed some of the pressing concerns, issues, and innovations in the world of children’s culture.  Subjects for the colloquia have focused on children, culture, and violence; the changing nature of children’s libraries; new approaches to bringing science into children’s lives; and the vital but often neglected link between children and the environment.

Jacques Henri Lartigue: A Boy, a Camera, An Era
Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida

Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) created an impressive body of photographs throughout his lifetime; however he, he took many of his most famous pictures during his childhood. Forty of these extraordinary photographs and stereographs are the focus of this exhibition. Since Lartigue's "discovery" in 1964 and his first major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, this is the first time that such a large group of Lartigue's childhood photographs has been the focus of an exhibition in the United States.

Together, these photographs offer an exuberant portrait of a remarkable child artist. Lartigue's talents developed quickly after he received his first camera for his seventh birthday. After this, it seems, he was rarely without a camera, and he immediately began experimenting with this exciting new medium. Lartigue used his camera to document the idyllic moments of family and friends at leisure and play. But he was also fascinated by the activities of inventors, scientists and dare-devils of every kind, who were busily creating the thrilling technologies (especially the airplane and automobile) that would revolutionize life in the twentieth century.

This exhibition was  co-curated by John Cech and Kerry Oliver-Smith with the support of L’Association des Amis Jacques Henri Lartigue, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France, and the France/Florida Research Institute.

Lartigue’s brother, Zissou, floating in his invention: an inner-tube with attached rubber legs.  Rouzat, 1908.

Walter Crane, illustration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest.