Interested in the creative arts, such as writing and printmaking, from a young age, Dr. Sharon M. Scapple has been recognized as a professor emeritus at Minnesota State University (MSU) in Moorhead since 2019. Specializing in adolescent and children’s literature, she joined the faculty at MSU in 2001 as a professor, where she subsequently served as the coordinator of English education. Holding prior teaching appointments at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, the University of St. Thomas, Metropolitan State University and Normandale Community College, Dr. Scapple commenced her career in 1969 as a high school English teacher in Wisconsin.
Proudest of receiving a PhD in children’s and adolescent literature in 1983, Dr. Scapple notably developed a student journal titled “The Great Plains Reading Review,” in which she taught students how to write book reviews, which later turned into an academic website of archived student work in children’s and young adult literature. She has also read student manuscripts for those in 400-level English classes who wished to publish a book of their own. In 2018, Dr. Scapple also founded Black Bear Studio, where she is engaged in printmaking, stone lithography, photography, pastel and abstract painting. She has been featured since her teenage years in group and solo shows in the Upper Midwest region for over 30 years.
During her teaching career, Dr. Scapple taught such classes as Writing for Children and Young Adults, Picture Books and Their Makers, the Complete “Harry Potter,” Censorship in American and Teen Literature, Grammars of English to the Beat Generation, Native American Literature and LGBTQ Young Adult Literature, among other areas of study. Alongside her teaching, she completed a 400-page dissertation for her PhD titled “The Child as Depicted in English Children’s Literature, 1970-1820,” which received a Dissertation Award. The dissertation discussed the Moral Tale written for British children in historical, social and literary studies.
Impressively, Dr. Scapple has also presented critical papers at national and international conferences with respect to children’s literature, including in Paris, and has published scholarships in journals and other book-length texts. Looking toward the future, she intends to engage in workshops in her community with children, continue with printmaking and stone lithography, and delve further into her photography work.