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FSU Announces 21st Annual Spring Festival of Children's Literature

The 2003 Spring Festival of Children's Literature will be held Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, on the campus of Frostburg State University. The Festival features an impressive group of award-winning authors and illustrators - Jane Dyer, Will Hobbs, E.B. Lewis and George Ella Lyon - and promises to be both educational and inspiring.

Each year, approximately 350 librarians, educators, parents and students come to FSU to share their love of children's literature and learn more about ways to share that love with children. The Festival provides an opportunity for participants to interact with featured authors and illustrators who bring characters to life and inspire children to read. Participants also mingle with fellow educators and exchange ideas.

The Festival was established by Dr. William Bingman, director of the Children's Literature Centre, to honor two colleagues who loved children's literature. Now in its 21st year, the Festival has become a testament to those who care about the art of children's literature.

The agenda for the Festival includes large group presentations by the featured authors and illustrators, offered in a personal and relaxed environment, as well as informative small group sessions. Topics range from selecting quality children's books for a classroom to the meaning of family in Danish and Irish children's literature. An extensive book selection is available for purchase and autographing.

Dyer, an author/illustrator, is the daughter of a kindergarten teacher who grew up in a "house filled with art projects, music and books." She began working in publishing as an author and illustrator of lesson activities for teachers that accompanied a reading program developed by Addison-Wesley. She "loves rainy days to draw, to read and to daydream." Dyer is the creator of "Animal Crackers," a series of poetic board books for younger children.

Hobbs is the author of 12 novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers. He grew up in an Air Force family that moved around the country. It was in Alaska that Hobbs "fell in love with mountains, rivers, fishing, baseball and writing." He says, "About half of my ideas for stories come from life experiences, and the other half come from reading as I learn more about whatever has sparked my interest." His books, "Jason's Gold" and" Far North," are both ALA Quick Picks for reluctant young adult readers.

Lewis, an award-winning illustrator, majored in graphic design and illustration and also in art education at Temple University's Tyler School of Art. Lewis' artwork has been displayed in galleries throughout the United States, including the prestigious Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia. He says, "I like the strong human interest stories... the kind that evoke emotion... stories that touch the heart." Lewis illustrated "The Bat Boy and his Violin," a Coretta Scott King award-winner that tells the story of a young boy who loved to play his violin even when serving as bat boy for his father's baseball team.

Lyon's first ambition was to be a neon-sign maker, a tightrope walker or a singer in Greenwich Village. However, she changed her mind when "I realized that it was the music in words that I was after." Lyon grew up in the Kentucky, where her house was "full of music, stories and books." The mountains of Kentucky and the theme of family are very strong in all of her writings. Her latest book, entitled "Mother to Tigers," is the biography of Helen Martini, the founder of the Bronx Zoo's animal nursery.

A special feature of the Festival, The R. Margaret Hamilton Children's Hour, will be held Friday, May 9, beginning at 4 p.m. for children ages 4 to 13. The authors will present age-specific workshops to share their work and to describe the process and the joy of writing and illustrating. Registration is required for the sessions and can be arranged by contacting Barbara, Dan or Kristy at (301) 687-4420.

Admission to the Festival is limited and pre-registration is required. Pre-orders are available for featured books. The Festival is administered by the Frostburg State University 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. 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