John Cech, Host and Executive Producer
John Cech is the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Florida. He is the creator, producer, and host of the original Recess! radio program. He is the author of numerous books, articles, plays, and poetry for children and adults, among them, Angels and Wild Things, The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak, and Jeshua, a novel about the “lost” years of Jesus of Nazareth’s youth. Click here to view John's programs.
Seth Blazer, Commentator
Seth Blazer is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Daytona State College. Along with his academic work, he and his wife, Deb, also have a thriving business in custom jewelry. Click here to view Seth's programs.
Stephanie Boluk, Commentator
Stephanie Boluk did her PhD at the University of Florida. She is currently Associate Professor in Cinema, Digital Media, and English at the University of California Davis. She is the author, with Patrick LeMieux, of Metagaming. Their book has been described as demonstrating “how games always extended beyond the screen, and how modders, mappers, streamers, spectators, analysts, and artists are changing the way we play.” Click here to view Stephanie's programs.
Lauren Brosnihan, Production Coordinator and Commentator
Lauren Brosnihan was a production coordinator for the Center while she was a graduate student at the University of Florida. Her areas of specialization included Irish literature, folklore, and mythology. She currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Click here to view Lauren's programs.
Ramona Caponegro, Commentator
Ramona Caponegro is Associate Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, and was the coordinator for the Center and a frequent contributor to Recess! while doing graduate work at the University of Florida. At EMU, she teaches courses in children’s and young adult literature and continues her research in the field, especially on social justice in children’s and YA literatures. Click here to view Ramona's programs.
Eve Cech, Associate Producer
Eve Cech served as the Coordinator for the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture for most of the time that Recess! was on the air. She is a distinguished editor and brought her talents to bear on most of these programs, crafting them for those who would be voicing them on the air. She is a lifelong fan of Wonder Woman. Click here to view Eve's programs.
Alisson Clark, Commentator
Alisson Clark is an award-winning senior writer for the University of Florida, an intrepid traveler, and a freelance contributor to such publications as National Geographic Traveler, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and the Tampa Bay Times. Click here to view Alisson's programs.
Jim Haskins, Commentator
Jim Haskins, the late Professor of English at the University of Florida, has been called “the unofficial biographer of Black America.” Over the course of his remarkable career, he wrote well over 100 books, including the first book about The Cotton Club, which rescued the history of that famous nightclub from obscurity. His ground-breaking book, Voodoo and Hoodoo, is considered essential to the study of this field of esoteric lore. Click here to view Jim's programs.
Lola Haskins, Commentator
Lola Haskins is an award-winning poet living in Gainesville, Florida. She has written many poems about childhood and a wide range of other subjects. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, as well as prose works such as Fifteen Florida Cemeteries, Strange Tales Unearthed and Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life. Her talents extend to the stage where she has created works that involve her poetry with dance, music, and drama. Click here to view Lola's programs.
Kenneth Kidd, Commentator
Kenneth Kidd is Associate Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture and a Professor of English at the University of Florida. He’s written books about American boyhood, psychological approaches to children’s literature, and the awards “industry” in children’s book publishing. Click here to view Kenneth's programs.
Cari Keebaugh, Commentator
Cari Keebaugh is Professor of English at North Shore Community College in Danvers, Massachusetts. She specializes in Children’s and Young Adult Literature & Culture. Her research ranges from Japanese fantasy to Steamboat Willie to parodies of Poe in YA culture. Click here to view Cari's programs.
Debra Walker King, Commentator
Debra Walker King is a full professor of English and an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She is known nationally and internationally for her scholarship, as the author of such highly regarded books as African Americans and the Culture of Pain and Deep Talk: Reading African American Literary Names and Naming. Click here to view Debra's programs.
Linda Lamme, Commentator
Linda Lamme is one of the most respected researchers in the field of early children’s literature, having published dozens of books and studies in this area. She is currently a retired Professor of Education at the University of Florida’s School of Teaching and Learning. When asked about the controversy surrounding traditional nursery rhymes she remarked, “If I were to say anything about nursery rhymes, I would say leave them alone. If you want contemporary nursery rhymes, write new ones.” Click here to view Linda's programs.
Barry Stewart Mann, Commentator
Barry Stewart Mann is a nationally known storyteller and actor. He currently lives in Atlanta and travels throughout this country and abroad conducting storytelling workshops for children and adults. He “instills in his work a sense of the common humanity that transcends cultures and borders, and the responsibility that we all share to work toward social justice through the exchange of ideas, stories, and experiences.” Click here to view Barry's programs.
Jaimy Mann, Commentator
Jaimy Mann is currently a lecturer on Race and Resistance Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Her research has focused on “The Transnational Transracial Politics of Cute and Kawaii.” She recently curated the exhibition, “Henry Darger’s Orphans and the Construction of Race” at Chicago’s Intuit Museum. Click here to view Jaimy's programs.
Cathlena Martin, Commentator
Cathlena Martin is an Assistant Professor of Game Studies and Design and the Director of the Honors Program at the University of Montevallo. She specializes in children’s literature and games and has written about play in Peter Pan and Ender’s Game, as well as game adaptations of children’s texts. Click here to view Cathlena's programs.
Shelley Fraser Mickle, Commentator
Shelley Fraser Mickle, to quote her publisher’s page, is “an award-winning author who has published over a dozen books, which, along with her commitment to literacy and the power of story, led to her being nominated to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Her books have been New York Times Notables, Library Journal’s Best Adult Books and her nonfiction book, Barbaro: America’s Horse (2007) won a Bank Street Award. She lives on her ranch in Gainesville, Florida.” Click here to view Shelley's programs.
Alicia Nitecki, Commentator
Alicia Nitecki is a survivor of the destruction of her native Warsaw, a survivor as a child of the Lauterbach labor camp, and the author and translator of numerous works about the Holocaust. She was instrumental in the rediscovery and publication of the first book to be written about Auschwitz, We Were in Auschwitz. Alicia is the great niece of the novelist Joseph Conrad. Click here to view Alicia's programs.
Susan Raab, Commentator
Susan Raab is the founder and head of Raab Associates, a marketing firm that is dedicated to
“bringing unique stories to market.” Susan’s special area of interest is children’s literature and the writers and artists who create it. Her clients include many Newbery and Caldecott award-winning authors and illustrators. She writes the regular column, “To Market,” for the Bulletin of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Click here to view Susan's programs.
Dave Reidy, Commentator
Dave Reidy is the award-winning author of the novel The Voiceover Artist and the story collection, Captive Audience. He currently lives in Chicago. Scott Turow wrote: “The Voiceover Artist is tender and beguiling. It is a wonderful story told with artful directness about family, faith, forgiveness and the large human struggle we all face to find our true voice.” Click here to view Dave's programs.
Malini Roy, Commentator
Malini Roy did her masters doctoral work at the University of Florida and Oxford University, respectively, specializing in children’s literature. She is currently an independent scholar, living in India and writing on such subjects as the graphic novel, The Vanished Path, and Gita Wolf’s The Flight of the Mermaid. Malini is one of the editors of Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789 to the Present. Click here to view Malini's programs.
Julie Sinn, Commentator
Julie Sinn did her doctoral studies at the University of Florida, where she her research focused on Little Golden Books, commercial culture, and its relation to middle-class ideology. Click here to view Julie's programs.
Kevin Shortsleeve, Commentator
Kevin Shortsleeve teaches courses in Children’s Literature, Literary Nonsense, Fairy Tales, Writing for Children, Picture Books, and Children’s Poetry & Film at Christopher Newport University. He has published a number of children’s books and contributed a host of articles and book chapters about nonsense and its singular importance to both children and adults. Among his numerous, intriguing essays are “Nonsense, Magic, Religion and Superstition” and “The Cat in the Hippie: Dr. Seuss, Nonsense, the Carnivalesque and the Sixties Rebel.” While doing graduate work at the University of Florida, Kevin was the Coordinator for the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture. Click here to view Kevin's programs.
Rita Smith, Commentator
Rita Smith is the former Curator of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature at the University of Florida. Her regular “Lost and Found” programs, based on the books she was archiving in the Baldwin Library, were a mainstay of Recess! Rita’s pieces brought a valuable and often revelatory, historical perspective to the cultural landscape that Recess! explored. Click here to view Rita's programs.
Koren Stembridge, Commentator
Koren Stembridge contributed moving programs about her experiences as the mother of a young child, especially during those harrowing days surrounding 9/11. She is Director of the Carey Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts, where, among her many duties, she continues to create and promote innovative programming for children and young adults. Click here to view Koren's programs.
Laurie Taylor, Commentator
Laurie Taylor was with the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture from its beginnings. She designed the original websites for both the Center and Recess! while also contributing programs on such subjects as word games, the history of toy theaters, and mystery games. Laurie is currently the Chair of the Digital Partnerships & Strategies Department at the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida. Click here to view Laurie's programs.
Heather Tomasello, Commentator
Heather Tomasello is the founder of the professional editing service, EssayLady. Click here to view Heather's programs.
Catherine Tosenberger, Commentator
Catherine Tosenberger is Associate Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg. She did her doctoral research on children’s literature and folklore at the University of Florida and has written extensively on fairy and folktales, children’s literature and fanfiction. Click here to view Catherine's programs.