Society & Culture

UGA hosts 42nd annual children’s literature conference; book awards March 4-5

Athens, Ga. – Some of the nation’s top authors and illustrators of children’s books will speak during the 42nd Annual Conference on Children’s Literature March 4-5 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel in Athens.

The conference is a recognition of children’s literature and the culmination of the Georgia Book Award programs that involves thousands of Georgia children in reading every year. Winners of the Georgia Children’s Book Award and the Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award are invited to the conference to speak and accept their awards.

This year’s conference features five award-winning authors:

  • Alma Flor Ada, professor emerita at the University of San Francisco and author of The Gold Coin, winner of the Christopher Medal; Under the Royal Palms, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal; and My Name is Maria Isabel, a NCSS and CBC Notable Book;
  • M.T. Anderson, author of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party, winner of the National Book Award; The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom of the Waves, a Michael L. Printz Honor for literary excellence in young adult literature; Feed, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner; and the Pals in Peril series;
  • Karen Beaumont, author of I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!, winner of the 2009-10 Georgia Picture Storybook Award; Baby Danced the Polka; I Like Myself and Doggone Dogs!;
  • Gail Gibbons, distinguished author of Hurricanes!, Tornadoes!, Snakes, Alligators and Crocodiles, and Elephants of Africa; and
  • Mary Downing Hahn, author of The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story, Time for Andrew, and Deep and Dark and Dangerous, all three Georgia Children’s Books Award winners; and Stepping on the Cracks, winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Hundreds of kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and library media specialists, as well as many public librarians throughout Georgia are projected to attend the conference, which is sponsored by the UGA College of Education department of language and literacy education. The Georgia Children’s Book Award was established in 1968 by Sheldon Root, a professor in the UGA department of language education. The purpose of the award is to foster a love of reading in the children of Georgia and to introduce them to a collection of engaging books of literary excellence.

In addition to the author sessions, the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl State finals and author autographs will be featured events. Typically, each speaker is available for autographing several times during the conference. A number of small group sessions that address ways to foster the enjoyment and teaching of literature in the home, classroom, school media centers and public libraries also will be offered. In addition to books by the session speakers, other children’s and professional books will be available for purchase. The conference concludes with participants of the Red Clay Writing Project reading picture books they have written which have been selected for various awards. The Red Clay Writing Project is a professional development group for language education teachers based in the UGA College of Education.

The reduced early registration fee deadline is Feb. 18. For more information or to register online, see