Shenandoah University kicks off its weeklong 33rd annual Children’s Literature Conference (CLC) on Monday, June 25, with a day of presentations, workshops and discussions at the university, as well as its third “Rockin’ the Library” on the steps of Handley Library (100 W. Piccadilly St., Winchester).
“Rockin’ the Library,” a family-oriented event for children and their families, is free and open to the public and draws hundreds of people who want to celebrate the joy of reading. This year, authors/illustrators Loren Long (“Otis and the Tornado,” “Otis and the Puppy”), Ryan Higgins (“Mother Bruce”) and Matthew Holm (the Babymouse and Squish graphic novels), all of whom are presenting at Shenandoah’s conference, will participate in the event, along with some special guests of their creation. “Rockin’ the Library” also includes free books and cupcakes, and activities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25. The event is free and open to the public.
Then, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, the CLC and the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum (19 W. Cork St, Winchester) are sponsoring a free Rocking the Rooftop event on the museum’s rooftop level. The event features a 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Cutie Pie Workshop, with CLC presenting author Jess Keating (“Pink is for Blobfish,” “Shark Lady”), about what we can learn from the world’s most adorable creatures, and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon (“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” “One Plastic Bag”), also presenting at the CLC, will lead a recycling/makers workshop from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. focusing on creating something beautiful out of a plastic bag instead of sending it to the landfill. Throughout the evening, Dr. Remy Pangle of James Madison University will lead activities connected to a wind energy challenge. The band Merlin’s Beard is also playing on the roof during the entire event, which culminates with a kid-focused dance party from 7:30 p.m. to 8 pm to celebrate an evening of book fun. Copies of the presenters’ books will be available for sale in the lobby of the museum. The event is free and open to the public.
The 33rd Children’s Literature Conference is held Monday, June 25, through Friday, June 29, on the campus of Shenandoah University. It is a popular, annual professional development conference for teachers and librarians to learn from and interact with internationally renowned children’s book authors and illustrators. This year’s theme is, “We Are What We Read: Fueled By Books, Connected By Stories, Empowered By Words.”
Each morning, authors and illustrators offer presentations, vividly sharing stories about their work. In the afternoons, participants are given the choice of attending small group workshops, roundtable discussions with the authors and illustrators, and classes on how to use literature to teach reading and writing. The guest speakers’ books are sold daily, with signing opportunities in the afternoon.
The following presenters will appear at Shenandoah University’s 33rd annual Children’s Literature Conference:
- Lois Lowry (Newbery Medal winner for both “ Number the Stars” and “The Giver”)
- Loren Long (author and illustrator of the New York Times-bestselling picture books “Otis and the Tornado,” “Otis and the Puppy,” “An Otis Christmas” and “Otis and the Scarecrow”)
- Matt de la Peña (2016 Newbery Medal winner for his book, “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson; author of “Love,” illustrated by Loren Long)
- Laurie Ann Thompson (“Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters”)
- Matt Holm (The Babymouse and Squish graphic novel series; “Sunny Side Up”)
- Ryan Higgins (“Mother Bruce,” “Hotel Bruce,” “Bruce’s Big Move,” “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!”)
- Mr. Schu (John Schumacher is a blogger, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. His blog Watch. Connect. Read., is a resource for the latest book trailers, chats with authors and illustrators and notable news in the children’s literature field)
- Linda Sue Park (recipient of the Newbery Medal for “A Single Shard,” and the bestselling author of “A Long Walk to Water,” which received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and tells the true story of Salva Dut and his journey as a “Lost Boy” of Sudan)
- Katherine Applegate (2013 Newbery Medal for the children’s novel, “The One and Only Ivan”)
- Meg Medina (2016 recipient of the Pura Belpré honor medal for her picture book, “Mango, Abuela and Me”)
- Angela Dominquez (“Maria Had a Little Llama,” which received the American Library Association Pura Belpré Illustration Honor; she received her second Pura Belpré Honor for her illustrations in Medina’s “Mango, Abuela, and Me”)
- Jason Reynolds (2018 Newbery Honor Award and Printz Honor Book for “Long Way Down,” multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award honors for “All American Boys,” “ As Brave as You,” and “Long Way Down”)
- Laurie Halse Anderson (winner of the Golden Kite award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the novel, “Speak”)
- Jess Keating (zoologist turned author of the My Life Is a Zoo book series, which includes “How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied”)
- Tom Angleberger (author of the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal-bestselling Origami Yoda series)
- Elizabeth Zunon (illustrator of the picture-book biographies, “The Legendary Miss Lena Horne,” “A President from Hawaii” and “My Hands Sing the Blues”)
Professor of Education, Director of the Children’s Literature Program and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Huff, Ed.D., said this year’s conference was inspired by Park’s Ted Talk, “Can a Children’s Book Change the World?”
“In this Ted Talk she shares the many ways that children have responded to her book, ‘A Long Walk to Water,’” Dr. Huff said. “Inspired by her book, students across the country have raised thousands of dollars to help support the drilling of wells in South Sudan. At the conclusion of the Ted Talk, Linda Sue Park answers her question by saying, ‘No. A children’s book cannot change the world, but the young people who read them can.’”
Park’s book, and the books of other authors at this year’s conference, “have repeatedly inspired students to affect change in their communities and the world,” Huff said. “Each day of the conference, the participants will be reminded that creating readers is much more than teaching reading and comprehension skills to help students pass a test. It involves providing books that motivate and engage students and make them think beyond the book and sometimes even be inspired to take action.”
Participants who attend the conference may elect to earn up to three hours of graduate or undergraduate credit. The conference is also a required course for students in Shenandoah University’s Master of Science in Literacy Education program. To enroll in the conference, visit su.edu/childrenslit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540/545-7215.
* The conference and its events, including community events, are made possible through the support of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation.