WORCESTER – Among the award-winning authors coming to the Annual Childrenâ€™s Literature Institute at Worcester State University is a named â€œLiving Legendâ€ who is a distant relative of Mark Twain.
The Childrenâ€™s Literature Institute (formerly The Author Institute) is in its 17th year and will feature multicultural authors in the week-long session running from June 26 through 30 in the Ghosh Science and Technology Center, according to the instituteâ€™s founder, Elaine Tateronis, former dean of education at WSU.
â€œWe are excited to have Katherine Paterson, who was named a â€˜Living Legendâ€™ by the Library of Congress, and is the author of many well-known childrenâ€™s books, including ‘Bridge to Terabithia,’ â€ Tateronis said.
Patersonâ€™s inspiration for this Newbery Medal-winning novel for young adults was derived partly from the death of her son’s childhood friend who was struck and killed by lightning.
Paterson doesnâ€™t shy away from addressing challenging topics, such as a troubled foster child in â€œThe Great Gilly Hopkinsâ€ and rebellion, independence, faith and more in the historical novel â€œPreacherâ€™s Boy,â€ which Paterson said in an interview to Gordon College, was influenced by Mark Twain, her â€œfirst cousin three or four times removed.â€
Patersonâ€™s work makes readers both think and feel, which leads to questions. On her website Paterson writes, â€œI wish I could answer everyoneâ€™s question on the phone or in a letter or through email. But as you see I am only one person and there are too many of you. To tell the truth if I only answered a fraction of the questions I get, Iâ€™d never have time to cook my food or walk my dog, much less write another book. So Iâ€™m inviting you to help me write more stories by asking you to research your own questions. This website may help. Or try your local library. The librarians I know love to find answers to questions. The harder the question, the better they seem to like it.â€
Well, the attendees of the conference will have time to ask questions of Paterson and the other featured authors, who include Floyd Cooper, Richard Sobol and David Kelly. A different author is featured each day. Participating students will listen to the authors present their literature, discuss literacy issues, suggest ways to motivate and develop student interest in literature and more.
And, much like Patersonâ€™s approach to questions from her young fans, the participants are expected to apply what they learn and use motivation as a tool in their classrooms or other settings.
â€œStudents in the audience write up the applications of what they will do with the information. Helping teachers, librarians and others who work with children to plant seeds and inspire a love of literature is a key component of the motivational aspect of the institute,” Tateronis said, adding the â€œbooks are a great vehicleâ€ to inspire and motivate children.
The institute is open to graduate students, librarians, teachers in the field and others who are interested in literature. Registrations will be accepted until June 26, Tateronis said, adding that â€œthose registering on the first day must register at 8:15 a.m.â€
The cost of this program is $799, which includes lunch. Graduate and professional development credits will be awarded. Housing can be provided in residence halls at a discounted rate, but arrangements must be made in advance.
For more information, visit the website.
For direct registration, call (508) 929-8125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.