By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It could have been Mother Goose, or “Goodnight Moon” or “Pat the Bunny.” Whatever it was, the first book that your parent read to you was the beginning of a lifelong adventure in reading. It opened doors to imagination and learning that forever shaped your world.
On Saturday, Anderson University explores and celebrates the rich world of children’s books with the Fifth Annual Elizabeth York Children’s Literature Festival.
The free event features several children’s authors and a member of the committee that confers that prestigious Caldecott Medal to denote the best illustrated children’s book each year. The festival runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the York Performance Hall at Anderson University. The event is directed to an adult audience, shedding light on subjects like writing and illustration and imagination.
Two-time Caldecott author and illustrator Chris Raschka will speak, along with Indianapolis poet and author Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and Indianapolis author and illustrator Nathan Clement. Dennis LeLoup is a member of the 2014 Caldecott Medal Committee.
“Each brings a unique look at children’s literature,” said Janet Brewer, director of the Nicholson Library at AU.
Brewer noted that the Caldecott Medal is the top children’s literature award, and speaker Chris Raschka has earned it twice. In 2006, Raschka’s “Hello, Goodbye Window,” received the medal, and in 2012, “A Ball for Daisy” claimed the award.
“To win it twice is wow,” said Brewer. “That’s a big thing in the world of children’s literature.”
Rebecca Kai Dotlich returns to the AU campus to participate in the festival for a second time. Dotlich’s writing craft employs poetry for children. The author has published a number of children’s books. Her most recent works include “Bella and Bean,” “Castles” and a juvenile non-fiction work, “What is Science?”
Nathan Clement has written and illustrated three picture books, “Drive,” “Job Site” and “Speed.”
“I’ll talk about my process, going from an idea to writing the story … thumbnailing and storyboarding as I go,” said Clement. He then scans his sketches in to develop the digital artwork in his books. Clement plans to demo the process for Saturday’s attendees. Clement worked as a graphic artist before jumping into children’s literature head first 12 years ago. He’s now under contract for his fourth book.
Dennis LeLoup is an Indianapolis-area school media specialist who will be part of the selection of the 2014 Caldecott winner. LeLoup will explore what’s involved in determining the best in the world of children’s illustrated books.
The Elizabeth York Children’s Festival was launched in 2009 in conjunction with the gift of Elizabeth York’s collection of children’s literature to the university. York and her husband, James, donated over 6,000 works of children’s literature, among them many first editions or signed copies.
Brewer couldn’t pick a single favorite with so many from which to choose.
“I like “Where the Wild Things Are,” but I also like something as simple as “Goodnight, Moon,”” said Brewer. “I can’t say just one.”
Book signings and festival T-shirts will be available during the festival. Lunch runs from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and those with reservations can dine at the festival for $10.
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