The Herald Bulletin

September 15, 2012

Children's lit festival ventures into opera, features singing

Elisabeth and the Water Troll’ author part of discussion


The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — An annual festival that celebrates children’s literature will wander into opera this year.

The fourth annual Elizabeth York Children’s Literature Festival on Saturday will feature a panel discussion on the illustrated book “Elisabeth and the Water Troll.” The panel includes the book’s author, Walter Wangerin. The book was adapted as an operetta for children and composer Randy Courts will also be on the panel. Wangerin and Courts have been longtime collaborators.

During the 2:15 p.m. panel session, alumni and students will sing selections from the opera, directed by Laurel Goetzinger.

“To complement the completion of the York Performance Hall and Galleries, we’ve included something a little different for this year’s Festival,” said Dr. Janet Brewer, director of the Nicholson Library at Anderson University.

The library will be the site for the festival which is free and open to the public.

The morning sessions of the festival will be in the Nicholson Library at Anderson University. The afternoon sessions will be in the recently-constructed York Performance Hall.

The festival is named for Dr. Elizabeth York. Elizabeth, who, with her husband, Dr. James M. York, donated about 6,000 rare children’s books to Anderson University. Many are first editions and include such authors as A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak.

Also this year, all visiting authors are from Indiana.

The following information includes a brief biography on other speakers.

u Keiko Kasza, author and illustrator

Born on a small island in the Inland Sea of Japan, she came to the U.S. in 1973 and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Northridge in 1976. Her first picture book was published in 1981 in Japan. “The Wolf’s Chicken Stew,” a 1987 ALA notable book and the winner of the 1989 Kentucky Bluegrass Award, was her first work to be published in the U.S. She has published 18 books and her work is translated into 14 languages. “Theme: triumph of the underdog,” a companion book to “My Lucky Day,” will be published in 2013. She lives in Bloomington.

Her last name, Kasza (pronounced as KA-ZA), sounds Japanese but is actually her husband’s Hungarian family name. Website: www.keikokasza.com.

u Claire Ewart, author and illustrator

Born in Holland, Mich., she began making drawings in second grade. Her family moved often but almost always lived on a lake. She went to Rhode Island School of Design. Her first of six books, “Time Train,” was published in 1991.

She considered being a veterinarian but says, “One visit to the Veterinary School at Michigan State to visit my cousin put an end to that. A jar holding a huge dog’s heart filled with heartworms ... and a surgery room bristling with needles and scalpels ... made me realize I wasn’t cut out for cutting animals open!” Website: www.claireewart.com.

u Lori Dekydtspotter, Indiana University Lilly Library’s rare books and special collections librarian

She took the post at IU in 2011. She holds a Master of Library Science from IU with specialization in rare books and manuscripts librarianship with a focus on medieval literature.

Sidenote: Among courses she has taught are History of Libraries and Introduction to Rare Book Cataloging.