At UNLV Libraries, we understand that first-rate speakers serve as the cornerstone of any literary event. This year, we’ve attracted three of the best to anchor the Gayle A. Zeiter Children’s Literature Conference, hosted by the Curriculum Materials Library from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs on the UNLV Campus.
Authors Monica Brown and Christopher Paul Curtis and illustrator Harry Bliss are slated to speak to approximately 200 expected participants from across the state.
Brown, author of award-winning books including “Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People,” “Waiting for Biblioburro” and “The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/Lado a lado: Las historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez,” has won the Américas Award for Children’s Literature, Orbis Pictus Honor for Outstanding Nonfiction and the Christopher Award. She is also a NAACP Image Award nominee and Tejas Star Book Award finalist. She is inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage coupled with her desire to write books for and about Latino children.
Curtis is the award-winning author of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963,” “Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money,” “Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission” and “Bucking the Sarge.” His second novel, “Bud, Not Buddy,” received the Newbery Medal as well as the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 2000 – the first book ever to win both awards. His newest release is “The Mighty Miss Malone.”
Bliss, a cartoonist and cover artist for the New Yorker Magazine, is also the illustrator behind the New York Times best seller, “A Fine, Fine School,” along with “Which Would You Rather Be?,” “Countdown to Kindergarten,” “Diary of a Worm,” “Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth” and “Diary of a Spider,” among others. Prior to his work illustrating full books, Bliss illustrated book covers for writers such as Lawrence Block, Dorothy Uhnak, Bob Dole and Fiona Buckley.
“They bring a great diversity to the program,” said Amy Johnson, head of the Curriculum Materials Library. “Having these three talented artists on our program will provide a rich and entertaining experience for conference guests.”
This year’s event was planned around last year’s feedback from participants who were asked what they would like to see more and less of for the 2013 conference.
“We got really great feedback,” Johnson said. “People who come to these conferences are mostly looking to hear the authors speak about their processes, get autographs and such.”
The conference is named for Gayle A. Zeiter, who earned a master’s degree in education at UNLV and worked as a Clark County School District teacher. Upon her passing in 2002, her husband, real estate developer Jim Zeiter, made a donation to UNLV. The donation helped create the Gayle Zeiter Literacy Development Center and it funds the children’s literature conference.
“We’re building on the good things that happened last year and we’re looking forward to this year,” Johnson added.
Registration for the conference is $30 for community members and $15 for UNLV students. To register, or for additional information, visit the website at www.unlvchildrensliterature.com.