This Saturday, the Nicholson Library at AU will host the Elizabeth York Children’s Literature Festival for the seventh time.
The festival began with a gift given to the Nicholson Library by Elizabeth and James York. According to the festival’s website, “It was Elizabeth’s dream to share these books with Anderson University, so in 2008, she and James contributed funds to build a rare-collections facility and a reading room in the Anderson University Nicholson Library. In 2009, the University dedicated the Elizabeth York Rare Books & Special Collections.”
After using York funds in years past, the event has been funded for the last two years by the Boze Foundation—a local group that supports the arts in Anderson, as well as on campus. The Boze Foundation pledged to fund the event for three years.
Dr. Janet Brewer, who is responsible for planning and organizing the event, said that their ultimate goal of the festival is to promote their tagline: “celebrating children’s literature.” Brewer also said that their focus has been to bring authors and illustrators in, and people who are connected with children’s literature as a whole.
Brewer said that they will be bringing in four children’s literature authors and illustrators: Carolyn Crimi, Shannon Anderson, Tom Watson and Troy Cummings. Each will speak for an hour and host a Q&A following their talks.
“Each of these four authors bring their own unique, stylistic approach to children’s literature, though they all do primarily focus on more of a picture book and small text style,” Brewer said.
All of the authors’ books will be featured at the festival, and there will be a time at the end for book signings. Some of the better-known books by these authors are “Stick Dog” and “Stick Cat” by Tom Watson, which both are series, and “Pugs in a Bug” by Carolyn Crimi.
In the past, the event has brought in an average of around 130 people, most of whom have come from Indiana and the tri-state area, but Brewer said that they’re always looking to bring in more people and expand. “The thing that people don’t often think about is the way in which children’s literature can be applied is so far-reaching,” she said.
“A lot of people have a narrow idea of children’s literature only being for children, but an event like this could attract people from the graphic design community, teachers, collectors of rare children’s books, librarians or even just people that have an interest in children’s literature,” she said.
Brewer said that she has been working closely with Professor Yoo, who is an art professor, and the communications department, and Yoo will have some of the visual communications students come to the event. Brewer also noted that, in the future, she would like to pair with one of Yoo’s classes as a way to promote the event and to talk about the career possibilities for graphic design within children’s literature.
“The themes in children’s literature are all over the board, and just about every discipline can and could use children’s literature as a theme or topic, which is why I feel there’s definitely room to expand the festival.”
The festival will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m., dismissing for lunch from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
More information about the festival, including links to the authors’ websites, can be found at the festival’s website: library.anderson.edu/about/yorkfestival.