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Frostburg State University Slates 20th Annual Spring Festival of Children's Literature

The Frostburg State University's 20th Annual Spring Festival of Children's Literature is slated for Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27 in the FSU Lane University Center. Embracing the theme "A Patchwork of Story: Celebrating 20 years of Children's Literature," the weekend event will feature the award-winning authors and illustrators Peter Catalanotto, Floyd Cooper, Patricia Reilly Giff and Martin Waddell.

Peter Catalanotto, an author/illustrator, started his career at the Pratt Institute in New York City. According to Catalanotto, he tries to write and illustrate his books in a way that encourages the reader to think.

His book "The Painter" is a "delightful work of art that deserves a place in every collection," notes The School Library Journal. In addition, Catalanotto has illustrated works by well-known authors including Cynthia Rylant and George Ella Lyon.

Floyd Cooper, an award-winning children's book author/illustrator, began illustrating as a way of complementing his advertising career. His first book, "Grandpa's Face," is an American Library Association Notable Book. He was also chosen to illustrate books that deal with discrimination such as "Eddie Lee," the story of a young boy with Down's Syndrome.

"I feel children are at the frontline in improving society," Cooper states. "This might sound a bit heavy, but it's true. I feel children's picture books play a role in counteracting all the violence and other negative images conveyed in the media."

Because it is "like breathing to me," Patricia Reilly Giff begins each day by writing. Following her graduation from Marymount College, the award-winning author taught for 20 years before deciding to write for children.

"I want the children to bubble up with laughter or to cry over my books," says Giff. She has written more than 60 books including the Newberry Honor Book "Lily's Crossing." Giff is also the author of the book series "Kids of the Polk Street School." Her novel, "Nory Ryan's Song," was awarded the American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults.

Northern Ireland native and resident Martin Waddell's life was forever changed when he was injured by a 1969 Belfast bomb explosion. "I became Mr. Mom," he states. "What I didn't know was that I was sitting on the richest vein of ideas."

Waddell's first work "Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?" became the first of this award-winning author's Big and Little Bear stories. "It is the most perfect children's book ever written or illustrated," claims The London Sunday Times.

In addition to having written over 100 books for children and young adults, Waddell has worked with outstanding illustrators including Helen Oxenbury. Throughout its history, the FSU Festival of Children's Literature has welcomed a "packed house" of librarians, educators, parents and students who travel to this beautiful Western Maryland campus to share their love of children's literature and learn more about the successful ways to share that love with children.

Started by Dr. William Bingham, director of the FSU Children's Literature Centre, to honor two colleagues, this premier event has become a testament to those who care about the art of children's literature and the passing on of this legacy.

In the "share and learn" atmosphere of the FSU Festival, adults who direct children's learning interact first-hand with authors and illustrators who bring characters to life and inspire children to read. Festival coordinators and participants share the philosophy that practice makes perfect, and the more that children enjoy reading, the more they read, and the better readers they become. They also note that reading ability, so important to success, can be proportionately related to desire and enjoyment.

This year's agenda includes informative small group sessions and large group presentations offered in a personal and relaxed environment. Topics range from using children's literature as bibliotherapy, to using brown bags to help integrate children's literature into students' homes. Participants will have the opportunity to mingle with fellow educators and exchange ideas, purchase books and learn from the wisdom and experience that the visiting authors share.

In addition to the numerous workshops, the Festival includes the R. Margaret Hamilton Children's Hour for children ages 4 to 13, Friday, April 26, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Lane University Center. Age-specific programs by the guest authors offer an opportunity for them to share their works with children and to offer guidance in the process of writing, illustrating and enjoyment of literature. Contact Bruce, Kristy or Mairead at (301) 687- 4420 to register for these sessions.

Admission to the Festival is limited and by registration only. Pre-orders and autographing for featured books is also available. Contact Bingman at the FSU Children's Literature Centre, (301) 687-4420, for information and registration.

The Festival of Children's Literature is administered by the FSU Foundation and sponsored by the FSU Department of Educational Professions and the Children's Literature Centre.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. You may request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.

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