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26th Annual Spring Festival of Children’s Literature at FSU Returns with Diverse Author Line-Up, Activities for all Ages

Celebrate the joys of children’s literature and learn ways to share children’s books with readers of all ages when Frostburg State University’s Spring Festival of Children’s Literature returns to scenic Western Maryland Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26. The theme for the much-anticipated event, which draws tons of librarians, educators, parents and students to Frostburg State University every year, is “Open a Book—Free a Mind,” and an impressive group of award-winning authors and illustrators—Betsy and Ted Lewin, Kadir Nelson and Deborah Wiles—headline the festivities.

The Festival will focus on creative ways to inspire children to enjoy reading, in a personal and relaxed “share and learn” environment that allows adults who direct children’s learning to interact first hand with authors and illustrators who bring characters to life. The weekend’s diverse array of educational activities include informative small group sessions and large group presentations covering topics such as using children's literature in the classroom, using an iPod to learn more about authors and many more. Participants are invited to mingle with fellow educators and exchange ideas, purchase books from an extensive selection and embrace the wisdom and experience that the visiting authors have to share. The program will also offer one-to-one interaction with colleagues and featured authors and illustrators, as well as autographing opportunities.

A special feature of the Festival, The R. Margaret Hamilton Children's Hour, will be held on Friday, April 25, beginning at 4:15 p.m. for children ages 4 to 13. Authors will present age-specific workshops during which they will share their work with children, as well as the process of writing, illustrating and the enjoyment it can bring. Open autographing and book sales are scheduled for 4 to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for the sessions and can be arranged by contacting Dr. Jodi Welsch at 301-687-3096.

About the Invited Authors and Illustrators

Betsy Lewin began her career designing greeting cards and illustrating for children’s magazines. She then found her love in writing and illustrating children’s books, and went on to win various awards, including a Caldecott Honor and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. Her titles include “Click Clack,” “Quackity-Quack,” “Duck for President,” “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type,” “Heat Wave” and many more.

Ted Lewin always wanted to be an illustrator, and to save up money for art school, he became a part-time professional wrestler! He has been writing and illustrating for many years and bases many of his books on his trips to various countries around the world. He has won several awards, including the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators and a Caldecott Honor. His works include “At Gleason’s Gym,” “The World’s Greatest Elephant,” “Lost City,” “The Discovery of Machu Picchu,” “Pennies in a Jar” and more.

Kadir Nelson says he has always been an artist. He has illustrated more than a dozen children’s books, as well as helped build the art collections of many well-known celebrities, corporations, galleries and museums. His illustrations have earned him several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Caldecott Honor and ALA Notable Book Award. His titles include “Moses,” “Henry’s Freedom Box,” “Thunder Rose,” “ellington was not a street,” “Big Jabe” and many more.

Deborah Wiles grew up in the Deep South, where she encountered many remarkable Southern characters. Today she writes about them and they live on in her stories. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award and the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship in 2004. Her books include “One Wide Sky,” “Freedom Summer,” “Love, Ruby Lavender,” “Each Little Bird that Sings” and “The Aurora County All-Stars.”

About the Annual Festival of Children’s Literature

The Festival was the brainchild of William Bingman, who created the festival as he looked for a way to honor two colleagues, both of whom held children's literature as a number one love. Now in its 26th year, what began as a small gathering of children’s literature enthusiasts has blossomed to 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 the passing on of this legacy.

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. The Festival is administered by the Frostburg State University Foundation and sponsored by the FSU Department of Educational Professions and the Children's Literature Centre. For more information, contact Bingman at 301-687-4420.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland.

For more information about FSU, contact the Office of Admissions at 301-687-4201 or visit the University’s Web site at 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 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589