Anderson, Indiana

AU to host children’s literature festival

Wed, 2010-09-22 11:21 -- univcomm
September 22, 2010

The second Annual Elizabeth York Children’s Literature Festival will be hosted on Saturday at the Nicholson Library of Anderson University.

A year has passed since Dr. Elizabeth York donated her rare children’s book collection worth over $1 million to the university.

Layout 1“We are very excited about the Yorks coming this year,” said Dr. Janet Brewer, library director. “They were scheduled to come last year, but due to some health issues they were not able. We are very excited to be able to present this festival for the second time. We had a lot of positive comments last year and we want to make it even better this year.”

Celebrating children’s book authors, illustrators and collectors, an all-day event has been planned to educate the public and give a glimpse into the often unseen world of literature.

“It really seemed to make a lot of sense to bring to campus individuals who could speak to the process of writing these kinds of books and to the process of collecting these kinds of books,” continued Brewer. “This is an inside look at what it takes to do that.”

Award-winning authors and illustrators, David Slonim and Candace Fleming, will speak of their inspiration and process of delivery, while Rebecca Kai Dotlich will cover the angle of poetry. Rare book dealer Maggie Page will shed light on the hobby of collecting classics.

In addition, a traveling art exhibit will be on display. Visiting from the Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books at the University of Findlay (Ohio) is the exhibit featuring 33 original illustrations by internationally recognized children’s book artists and is titled: “Speak: Children’s Book Illustrators Brag about Their Dogs.”

“From the exchange from last year we wanted to keep into the mix someone involved with collecting,” said Brewer. “We selected Maggie because Elizabeth York enlisted her help to purchase some of the titles, especially the Mother Goose books.”

Dr. Elizabeth York spent years gathering an impressive collection of about 6,000 rare children’s books, many first editions or signed copies, including such prestigious authors as A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak.

Along with her husband, Dr. James M. York, last year she donated the entire collection to Anderson University in addition to funding the construction of the Elizabeth York and James York Reading Room and Special Collections.

“I think this is a wonderful way to showcase one of the most remarkable collections of children’s literature in the country,” said Bob Coffman, AU vice-president for advancement. “We had a very experienced book dealer appraise the collection and he said it is among the very best in the country. Only a handful of universities have a collection of this quality and size.”

“I expect the audience (for the festival) to be diverse,” added Brewer. “We expect to see college students, representatives from public and school libraries, teachers and members of the public.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for people in our community to hear firsthand from people involved in the process of creating children’s literature,” said Coffman. “That process is fascinating to me and Dr. (Elizabeth) York’s passion is contagious.”

If you go

Elizabeth York Children’s Literature Festival
Where: Nicholson Library at Anderson University
When: Saturday, Sept. 25
Cost: None
For information or to register, call Janet Moore at (765) 641-4270, or send e-mail to

Schedule of events:

  • 8 – 8:30 a.m. — Registration; book and T-shirt sales
  • 8:30 – 8:45 a.m. — Welcome and introductions
  • 8:45 – 9:45 a.m. — *David Slonim, award-winning children’s author/illustrator and oil painter
  • 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. — **Maggie Page, rare book dealer specializing in children’s literature
  • 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. — Lunch; book and T-shirt sales; reading room open; Mazza Art Exhibit, “Speak”
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — *Candace Fleming, award-winning children’s and young adult author
  • 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. — *Rebecca Kai Dotlich, poet and picture book author
  • 3:15 – 4 p.m. — Book signings; book and t-shirt sales; reading room open; Mazza Art Exhibit, “Speak”

* denotes workshops that qualify for Teacher Professional Development Points (4)
** denotes workshop that qualifies for one (1) LEU for librarians.

—Emma Bowen Meyer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.