Amid the growing push for greater diversity in literature for children and young adults, NIU Associate Professor Melanie Koss stands out as an educator and researcher who can speak directly to the important need for the representation of diversity in race, religion, ethnicity and dis/ability in today’s children’s and young adult book choices.
Koss focuses her teachings on children’s and young adult literature in a multicultural society. Her research has centered on how well diverse groups are represented by authors and the characters they create. She is also well versed in how children’s and young adult literature supports English learners and has led literature discussions among high school students on social justice topics.
Koss earned her master’s from The Ohio State University in language, children’s literature and reading. She followed that degree with a doctorate in literacy, language and culture from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
She has written for and contributed to numerous publications and has been featured in interviews with local and national media outlets regarding her research.