Date & Time: April 15 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Location: Virtual

Building on Kelly Wissman’s (2019) work, Petros Panaou calls for radiant readings of literature in ways that may take us outside of ourselves, our realities, and points of view “like rays emitting from the sun, to seek out alternative perspectives, new directions, and unique pathways” (p. 16).

The presentation is guided by Wissman’s understanding of the social imagination as the capacity of a reader to imagine “the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others” as well as “to invent visions of what should be and what might be” (p. 15). Nurturing reading as an act of creativity and fostering dialogic inquiry around literature is shown to be quite effective in engaging the social imagination.

Petros Panaou is an author of children’s and young adult literature. His first young adult novel, titled Operation LOGOSThe Cellphone Mystery (Teleia Publications, 2022), won the Cyprus National Book Award for literature addressed to children and adolescents. It was also included in the international White Ravens list as one of the 200 best books in the world recommended for translation into other languages. The sequel, Operation ANTI-LOGOS – The Cellphone Mystery 2, came out in January 2024, and the LOGOS trilogy is expected to be completed in 2025. Petros’ first illustrated children’s book is expected to be published in 2024, concurrently in China, Greece, and Cyprus, under the title Dora Mouse, Curiosity, and the Cat. Petros is a professor of children’s literature at the University of Georgia, where he chairs an annual children’s literature conference. He has served as an elementary school teacher in Cyprus and has taught children’s literature at the University of Nicosia, Illinois State University, Central Michigan University, and Boise State University. Lately, his scholarly work has focused on international literature for children and young people, cultivating the social imagination through literature and reading promotion through creative reading and writing. He has coordinated European projects focusing on children’s literature. He is a board member of the Cyprus IBBY. He has served on various literary award committees, including the Newbery Awards, and as editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Bookbird.


Sponsored by Artivism: The Power of Art for Social Transformation, Criminal Justice Program, and Department of Sociology.

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