The book Gareth B. Matthews, The Child’s Philosopher, edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory (Professor in Educational Foundations and Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University) and Megan Jane Laverty (Teachers College, Columbia University), recently received the Philosophy of Education Society of Australia (PESA) Book Award.
PESA recognizes the importance of authored and edited books in advancing knowledge in our field. The publication of a book is often a key milestone in an academic’s career. The PESA Book Awards have been established to acknowledge the significance of selected books published by PESA members each year.
Specific ways in which the book addressed the Book Awards criteria are:
Academic rigor: a range of contemporary scholars from diverse locations and fields engage with Matthews’ essays in ways that critique and assess his scholarship in terms of schooling and childhoods today.
Scholarly significance: the theoretical, philosophical strengths in the theory and philosophy relating to children and childhoods elevated by this book, amongst others, is that it has led to an archive of Matthews’ entire work including original writing, and transcripts of dialogues with children.
Originality: the innovations and new approaches to theory and philosophy of education promoted in this book are, on the one hand, Matthews’ own innovations, and on the other, the critical engagements of esteemed invited scholars to critique his work.
Insight: the understandings of practical applications of philosophy of/in education in relation to contemporary societal, political, cultural or other issues offered by this book include suggestions for inspiring children and young people to philosophically engage with contemporary societal concerns, including racism, sexism, war, and others.
Relevance: this book contributes to the PESA aim of advancing philosophy and theory of education in its argument for philosophy in the education of children and young people. It claims that young people experience philosophical complexities, delight in playing with ideas and wrestling with concepts, reasoning, and understanding diverse perspectives.