"Recess!" combines the efforts of an award-winning radio station, faculty and researchers from the University of Florida community; teachers, librarians, media specialists, and others working directly with children; and artists, performers, and writers from around the country who are creating works for children in print and other media.

John Cech John Cech

Dr. John Cech
Creator, Producer and Host

Professor Cech is the Director of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture. He is the author of books and plays for young people, as well as fiction and criticism for adults, including Angels and Wild Things, an exploration of the work of Maurice Sendak. John Cech has probably never come across a subject that did not interest him greatly.

Professor Cech’s office phone: (352) 392-6650, ext. 285; email address:

Favorite childhood book: The Wonderland of Knowledge

Henri Pensis Henri Pensis

Henri Pensis
Executive Producer

Henri Pensis is the Station Manager of WUFT-FM. He handles the editing and distribution of "Recess!" and hosts WUFT's "Music of the Twentieth Century." In addition, he is an accomplished flutist.

Favorite childhood book: The Mushroom Planet Series by Eleanor Cameron

Richard Drake Richard Drake

Richard Drake
Technical Director

Richard Drake is the host of WUFT's morning classical program, "Fanfare," and is North Central Florida's "Voice of the Arts." He is also a classically trained singer.

Favorite childhood book: (Hasn't told us yet).

Eve Cech Eve Cech

Eve Cech
Associate Producer

Eve is a teacher, an editor of works in the sciences and the humanities, and a translator most recently of fiction by a Russian emigrée writer. Eve is responsible for the editing of the program and website content, for coordinating communications, opportunities, and ideas of every variety, and for keeping the program in a state of calm steady "flow." She says the extra large coffee she always has on her desk helps achieve that tranquility.

Favorite childhood book: The Snowmaiden.


Fiona BarnesFiona Barnes

Fiona Barnes is a specialist in post-colonial literatures, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Writing at the University of Florida. She is also an actress and the mother of two children.

Favorite childhood book: The Secret Garden.

Lauren Brosnihan Lauren Brosnihan

Lauren Brosnihan is a graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Florida. Her academic interests include twentieth century Anglo-Irish and British literature. She has been an academic reference and instruction librarian.

Please see her website for more information:

Favorite childhood book: Grimm's Fairy Tales

Ramona Caponegro Ramona Caponegro

Ramona Caponegro is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Florida. Her academic interests include children's and young adult literature and culture and American literature. She is the Associate Coordinator of Events in the Public Sphere for the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and the assistant producer of Recess!.

Please see her website for more information:

Favorite childhood book: The Story of Ferdinand by Monro Leaf, Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

Jim Haskins Jim Haskins

Jim Haskins was a professor of children's and adolescent literature at the University of Florida. He has written books, too numerous to mention here, on distinguished African Americans in history, sports, and entertainment.

Favorite childhood book: (Too many to list).

Lola Haskins Lola Haskins

Lola Haskins poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, The London Review of Books, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. The most recent of her eight collections is Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems (BOA, 2004). Two prose books are forthcoming in 2007: Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life (Backwaters Press), and Solutions Beginning with A, fables about women with images by Maggie Taylor (Modernbook). For more information, please see

Favorite childhood book: (Not yet submitted).

Kenneth Kidd Kenneth Kidd

Kenneth Kidd is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida. He teaches courses on children's literature, children's film, psychoanalysis, and gender studies. His book, Boyology and the Feral Tale, was published by the University of Minnesota Press; and, with Sidney I. Dobrin, he has co-edited Wild Things: Ecocriticism and Children's Literature, from Wayne State University Press. Currently, Kenneth serves as the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of English. Recently, against good judgement and in a masochistic spirit, he bought a house and now spends much of his time spreading mulch, arranging for pest control, and watching "Trading Spaces." Special interests include collecting 1950s furniture and sleeping.

Favorite childhood book: (Gotta ask)

Barry Stewart Mann

Barry Stewart Mann is an actor, writer, educator and storyteller based in Atlanta, Georgia. He teaches drama workshops and performs educational programs through Young Audiences of Atlanta, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and Atlanta's Alliance Theatre (where he is on the Acting Faculty). Barry was named the 1999 Storyteller of the Year by the Ohio Creative Arts Institute. He's the author of numerous articles and essays on literary, historical and social topics. Among his many dramatic credits, Barry has been seen on such television programs as One Life to Live, The Dr. Ruth Show, and A & E's Short Stories. He is the father of two young sons.

Favorite childhood book: Horton Hears a Who, Dove, and My Side of the Mountain

cathlena martin cathlena martin

Cathlena Martin is a PhD student at the University of Florida, Department of English, specializing in children's literature and culture and digital media. Please see her website for more information:

Favorite childhood book: Archibald the Blue-Dotted Squirrel


Michelle Martin is a professor of children's and adolescent literature at Clemson University. Her current research focuses on African American children's picture books. Her book, Brown Gold: Milestones of African American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2000, was published by Routledge Press in 2003.

Shelley Fraser Mickle Shelley Fraser Mickle

Shelley Fraser Mickle was born in 1944 and grew up in Arkansas and Tennessee and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1966. She is the author of three novels: The Queen of October, a 1989 New York Times Notable Book; Replacing Dad, now a Hallmark Channel movie; and The Turning Hour, about teenage suicide. Her collection of humorous essays is titled The Kids Are Gone; The Dog is Depressed & Mom's on the Loose. She has also been a commentator for NPR's "Morning Edition." Shelley is the mother of two grown children, and lives with her husband on a farm in Alachua, Florida.

Visit her website:

Favorite childhood book: (Hasn't told us yet).

Susan Raab Susan Rabb

Susan Raab is president of Raab Associates, Inc., the first agency to specialize in marketing and promoting children's books. Susan is the author of An Author's Guide to Children's Book Promotion, and she is Marketing Advisor to the SCBWI and is a feature columnist for their national publication, The Bulletin. She serves on the national Board of Advisors for the Children's Center for Literature and Culture.

Malini Roy Malini Roy

Malini Roy is a graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Florida. Her academic interests include everything to do with Romanticism. She enjoys Indian classical music and murder mysteries.

Favorite childhood book: Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

Rosie Russo Rosie Russo

Rosie Russo is the Director of Children's Services for the Alachua County Library District. Of all those in public service, Rosie wins the "Ms. Congeniality" award, hands down, year in, year out!

Favorite childhood book: (We don't know.)

Kevin Shortsleeve

Kevin Shortsleeve grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. He received a B.F.A. in filmmaking from Emerson College in Boston. He is the author of five books of verse for children, including Thirteen Monsters Who Should Be Avoided, which was listed as a Kid's Pick of the List by the American Booksellers Association. His essay, "Edward Gorey, Children's Literature and Nonsense Verse" appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of The Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Kevin has lectured on writing for children in the United States and in Great Britain. He is currently living in Oxford, England.

Favorite childhood book: (can't remember)

Julie Sinn Julie Sinn

Julie A. Sinn is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida specializing in children's and young adult literature. Before moving to Florida, she taught junior high and high school students in Archie, Missouri, a town of around 700 people and one grocery/video store/restaurant. Now, when she isn't researching for her dissertation on the Little Golden Books, she is marveling at the availability of midnight sushi deliveries and 2 a.m. pizza. Please see her web site for more information:

Favorite childhood book: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, although The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone runs a close second.

Rita Smith Rita Smith

Rita Smith is the Curator of the University of Florida's Baldwin Collection of Children's Literature, one of the leading historical collections of its kind in this country, numbering more than 90,000 volumes from Dr. Mather to Dr. Seuss.

Favorite childhood book: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

Koren Stembridge Koren Stembridge

Koren Stembridge provides lively commentaries for "Recess!" when she is not dividing her time between her duties as a mother and as the Quality Services Manager of the Boston Public Library. Koren is a terrific singer, dancer, and a gifted comedienne.

Favorite childhood book: Busy, Busy World by Richard Scary

Laurie Taylor Laurie Taylor

Laurie Taylor is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida specializing in new media and video games, which also tend to be the topics of her commentaries for "Recess!" She developed and continues to consult for this website.

Please see her website for more information:

Favorite childhood book: Andrew Henry's Meadow by D. Burns.

Harun Thomas Harun Thomas

Harun Karim Thomas is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English. His academic interests include literary theory, new media studies, African American studies, and gender issues. He spends much of his free time watching his beautiful daughter, Jaiden Melesse, blossom and playing drums.

Please see his website for more information:

Favorite childhood book: (No report yet)

"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."
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