A host of talented, giving, dynamic authors, illustrators and educators have graced the Shenandoah University Children’s Literature Conference over its 35 years of existence.
And now, as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many past presenters, along with some slated to appear at this year’s conference, are sharing their talents to benefit children and families affected by school closures worldwide.
Matt de la Pena, a previous presenter and Newbery Medal-winning author of “Last Stop on Market Street,” is writing a “Daily Homebound Letter” on his website for currently homebound students (and their parents). Loren Long, who illustrated the de la Pena-authored “Love,” who is also a past presenter, recently participated in a live session about their book on de la Pena’s Instagram page.
Jarrett Krosoczka, an author/illustrator and a previous presenter known for his young adult graphic novel memoir “Hey, Kiddo” (a National Book Award finalist), the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series, “Star Wars: Jedi Academy” installments, the “Platypus Police Squad” novel series, picture books and more, is presenting the YouTube video series Draw Every Day with JJK, which can also be found on his website. The series covers everything from drawing character expressions and creating word balloons to brainstorming ideas.
Ben Clanton, author/illustrator of the Narwhal and Jelly book series, and who is slated to present at this year’s conference, is offering online art classes every Monday on Instagram.
Author/illustrator of graphic novels, picture books and chapter books, Dan Santat, who is also scheduled to present this year, has created the “Santat Online Survival School for the Pandemic,” which is accessible through his website and Instagram. Through it, he provides a topic of the day, plenty of info about the topic, and assignments to complete to earn a topic-related badge that can be downloaded, printed and colored.
Another author expected to present this year, Kelly Yang (known for the middle-grade novel, “Front Desk”) is leading writing classes for teenagers once a week, live on Instagram, and the videos are also posted on her YouTube page. Another upcoming presenter, Ashely Spires, author of “Binky the Space Cat” books as well as picture books, is reading some of her stories “in videos so budget, they are begging to become cult favorites,” on her website. Just click on Asthma Cats Book Club to find them.
Other previous presenters offer a variety of activities and information online, too:
- Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander talks poetry at http://athomewithkwame.com
- Author Jason Reynolds leads an “imagination stretch game” on Instagram live
- Also on Instagram is author Mac Barnett’s “Mac’s Book Club Show,” where he reads a chapter of one of his books each day, in his own inimitable style
- Picture book illustrator Scott Magoon is reading stories, drawing, and answering questions at http://scottmagoon.com/all-books and Scott’s Studio Storytime
- Children’s librarian/author Denise Fleming provides teaching and discussion guides for her books on her website
- Author/illustrator Bob Shea presents drawing videos at http://bobshea.com
- Caldecott Medal-winner Kevin Henkes offers a wide variety of resources, including downloadable activities, at https://kevinhenkes.com/for-teachers-librarians-parents
- Tom Angleberger, author of the “Origami Yoda” series and more, is answering questions, offering paper folding tips and presenting art/craft videos at https://origamiyoda.com
- Fiction/nonfiction author/ illustrator and zoologist Jess Keating offers a ton of resources for fans, and anyone who wants to explore nonfiction more, on her website
- Fifth-grade teacher/author/Nerdy Book Club blogger Colby Sharp offers book recommendations for picture books through young adult novels at https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2020
- And, as always, Mr. Schu (John Schu), part-time lecturer Rutgers University and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic, keeps you informed about the world of children’s books through book trailers at his site, http://mrschureads.blogspot.com
Artwork Credit: Reading to the Moon | Book Fiesta by Rafael López