Final plans are being made for the Frostburg State University Spring Festival of Children’s Literature 2007, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28. The theme for the weekend will be “25 Years of Loving Literature." An impressive group of award-winning authors and illustrators – Michael Emberley, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Richard Peck and Laura Vaccaro Seeger – headline the event, which promises to be both educational and inspiring.
Each year, a “packed house” of librarians, educators, parents and students come to FSU to share their love of children’s literature and to learn more about successful ways to share that love with children. Reading ability, so important to success, can be proportionately related to desire and enjoyment. Practice makes perfect, and the more children enjoy reading, the more they read, and the better readers they become. In the “share and learn” atmosphere of the Literature Festival, adults who direct children’s learning interact first-hand with authors and illustrators, who bring characters to life, and inspire children to read.
The agenda for the Festival includes informative small group sessions and large group presentations offered in a personal and relaxed environment. Topics range from using children's literature in comprehension instruction, to using brain research to help improve children's reading skills. Participants mingle with fellow-educators and exchange ideas, purchase books, and embrace the wisdom and experience that the visiting authors have to share.
The program offers diversity, with large and small group presentations, as well as many opportunities for one-to-one interaction with colleagues and featured authors and illustrators. An extensive book selection is offered for purchase, with opportunities to have many autographed.
The artists featured in the festival include:
• Michael Emberley, who has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1979 and is part of a family of children’s book authors. He has finished more than a dozen books to date, several of which have won various awards. His titles include “Ruby and the Sniffs,” “Go! Go! Maria!” and “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You.”
• Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, of Dublin, Ireland, who is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Reading Association of Ireland Children's Book Award, and the Irish Children's Book Trust “Book of the Decade Award." Her titles include “Lizzy and Skunk,” “I'm a Tiger Too,” “You, Me and the Big Blue Sea” and “The Long March.”
• Richard Peck, who went off to college, joined the army and became an English teacher all before he became an award-winning author of children’s books. His books appeal to middle graders as well as young adults. His books include “A Long Way from Chicago,” “A Year Down Yonder,” “Strays Like Us and “The Teacher’s Funeral.”
• Laura Vaccaro Seeger, who is an Emmy Award-winning artist and animator. She has created countless network television show openings and children’s videos and is now dedicated to her first love, writing and illustrating children’s books. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. Her titles include “Lemons Are Not Red,” “The Hidden Alphabet” and “Walter Was Worried.” All were named ALA Most Notable Books and “Child Magazine” Best Books of the Year.
A special feature of the Festival, The R. Margaret Hamilton Children's Hour, will be held on Friday, April 27, beginning at 4:30 p.m. for children aged 4 to 13. Age specific workshops are presented by the authors, in which they share their work with children, as well as the process of writing, illustrating, and the enjoyment it can bring. Autographing and book sales will be available from 4 to 4:30 p.m. These sessions are open to the public with advance registration required. To register, contact Dr. Jodi Welsch at 301-687-7032.
The Festival was the brainchild of Professor William Bingman, who sought a way to honor two colleagues, both of whom held children's literature as a first love. Now in its 25th year, what began as a small gathering of children’s literature enthusiasts has blossomed to serving over 350 eager participants. With a reputation as a premier event, the Festival has become a testament to those who care about the art of children’s literature and who pass on this legacy.
To celebrate the Festival’s 25th anniversary, a commemorative pin has been created that will be given in exchange for a donation of $25. There also will be six small group presenters coming all the way from Ireland to share in this momentous occasion. Admission to the Festival is by registration only and is limited in number. Pre-registration is required, and pre-orders are available for books that will be featured at the Festival. Autographing will also be available.
The Festival is administered by the FSU Foundation, Inc., and sponsored by the FSU Department of Educational Professions and the Children's Literature Centre. For more information, contact Dr. William Bingman at (301) 687-4420.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.