John Cech


John Cech joined the UF faculty in 1976. He received his BA from the University of Illinois (Urbana) and his PhD from the University of Connecticut (Storrs) in 1974. His teaching and research interests combine American Literature, Creative Writing, and Children’s and Adolescent Literature.

Professor Cech is Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature & Culture and was the Producer and Host of the Public Radio program, “Recess!,” a daily program about children’s culture (from 1998–2007). He is the author of Imagination and Innovation: The Story of Weston Woods (2009); Angels and Wild Things: The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak (1994; paperback edition with new introductions, 2013) and Charles Olson and Edward Dahlberg: Portrait of a Friendship (1982), and the editor of American Writers for Children, 1900–1960 (1984). He has written fourteen books for children, including My Grandmother’s Journey (1991), First Snow, Magic Snow (1992), Django (1994), Jacques Henri Lartigue Boy With a Camera (1994), and The Southernmost Cat (1995). His first novel for adults, A Rush of Dreamers, was published in 1998. Cech has also written two plays for family audiences: From Inside a Swan’s Egg (1982) and The Secret River (1994, based on the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings story). More recently he has contributed six volumes (retellings and scholarly notes) in Sterling Publishing’s Classic Fairy Tale Series: The Elves and the Shoemaker (2007), The Princess and the Pea (2007), Jack and the Beanstalk (2008), < cite>Rumpelstiltskin (2008), The Twelve Dancing Princesses (2009), and Puss ‘n’ Boots (2010). In addition, John has also published a selection (with scholarly note) of Aesop’s Fables (2009) and a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy that we refer to today simply as The Nutcracker (2009).

Cech’s articles and reviews have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Child, Children’s Literature, The Horn Book, The New York Times Book Review, Parabola, and The Washington Post. He has served as the president of the Children’s Literature Association, the book review editor of Children’s Literature (Yale) from 1982–1996, and as commentator on children’s culture for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” In 1992 he was presented with the Chandler Award of Merit for his scholarship and innovative teaching in children’s literature, and in 2013 he received the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award for his “lasting contribution to the field of children’s literature.”


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