Society & Culture

UGA hosts 41st annual children’s literature conference, book awards March 19-20

UGA hosts 41st annual children's literature conference, book awards March 19-20

Athens, Ga. – Some of the nation’s top authors and illustrators of children’s books will speak during the 41st Annual Conference on Children’s Literature March 19-20 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens.

The popular conference is a celebration of children’s literature and the culmination of the Georgia Book Award programs that involve 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 each year to the conference to speak and accept their awards.

This year’s conference features Robert Burleigh, author of Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh; Stealing Home Jackie Robinson: Against All Odds; Hoops and, most recently, One Giant Leap; Kadir Nelson, illustrator of Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln; We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball; and Henry’s Freedom Box, a Caldecott Honor Book; Fred Newman, a UGA alumnus, host of PBS’ award-winning literacy program Between the Lions, the sound effects man for “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor,” and author of Mouth Sounds; Andrea Davis Pinkney, author of Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, a Coretta Scott King Award winner; Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Carter G. Woodson Award winner; and Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation; and vice president and executive editor of Scholastic Trade books; and Margie Palatini, author of Sweet Tooth, winner of the 2008-2009 Georgia Picture Storybook Award; Bad Boys; and The Three Silly Billies.

Hundreds of K-8th grade teachers and library media specialists, as well as many public librarians throughout Georgia attend the conference, sponsored by the UGA College of Education’s department of language and literacy education. The Georgia Children’s Book Award was established in 1968 by Sheldon Root, a professor in UGA’s 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 books worthy of receiving an award for literary excellence.

In addition to the author sessions, the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl State finals and autographing are popular events. Typically, each speaker is available for autographing several times during the conference.

In addition to books by all of the session speakers, other children’s books and professional books also are available for sale. The conference concludes with students of Red Clay Writing Project teachers reading picture books they have written which have been selected as “Most Humorous,” “Most Likely to Change the World,” and other awards. The Red Clay Writing Project is a professional development group for language education teachers, based in the College of Education.

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