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Children's Literature Summer Institute




A hallmark of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature is the Summer Institute held every other year. The intensive long weekend program offers students an opportunity to meet with authors, illustrators, editors, and others committed to the study of children's literature. Guest lecturers have included Newbery Medal winners Paula Fox and Lois Lowry; Caldecott Medal winners Maurice Sendak, Paul O. Zelinsky, Ed Young, Allen Say, David Wiesner and David Macaulay; British author Anne Fine; authors Jacqueline Woodson, Patricia C. McKissack, Avi, and Julius Lester; regional authors Natalie Babbitt, Nancy Garden, and Robert Cormier; poets Nancy Willard, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Paul Janeczko; illustrators Jerry Pinkney, Trina Schart Hyman and Robert Sabuda; editor Roger Sutton; and child development theorist David Elkind.

2015 Institute: HOMECOMING

Friday July 24 - Sunday July 26, 2015

The Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College will dedicate its 2015 summer institute to the theme of "Homecoming" on the last weekend in July, commencing on the morning of Friday, July 24 and concluding around noon on Sunday, July 26th. More information about the 2015 summer institute will be posted soon!


"Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write"
-Thích Nhãt Hanh


In many ways, "Love Letters" demands that we contemplate romance in literature for children and young adults.

Although love and heartbreak might be the territories of the young adult novel, we find passion in picturebooks, revel in the devotions of early readers, and explore emotional depths in middle grade books. Nonfiction marries both knowledge and narrative.

Institute speakers will consider how books themselves act as letters. How do they declare love for a subject or to an audience? How does a lifetime inform every book written? Every book read?

Among the speakers who will attend the Institute are Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman, M. T. Anderson, Shane Evans, Jack Gantos, Jo Knowles, Jason Chin, Jeanne Birdsall, Wong Herbert Yee, David Hyde Costello, Deborah Heiligman, and Vicky Smith.

The Institute features the 2013 Mary Nagel Sweetser Lecture to be delivered by Lois Lowry.

Preceding the Institute, graduate students in Children's Literature programs will be taught by Associate Professor Amy Pattee, author of Reading the Adolescent Romance: Sweet Valley High and the Young Adult Romance Revolution. The graduate Symposium will run Tuesday and Thursdays beginning July 2nd and will culminate with the weekend Institute.


Past Institutes

The following is a list of past institutes held by Simmons College:


2013: Love Letters

2011: The Body Electric

2009: Crimes and Misdemeanors

2007: Food, Glorious Food

2005: Let's Dance: Performative Aspects of Literature for Children and Young Adults

2003: Midnight Gardens: Themes of Good and Evil in the Garden of Children's Literature

2001: Brave New Worlds: Looking Towards the Future

1999: Halos & Hooligans: Images of the Child at the Turn of the 21st Century

1997: As Time Goes By: the Many Ways Time is Constructed, Interpreted, and Revisioned in Literature and Life

1995: A Room of One's Own: Actual and Metaphorical Constructs of Creativity, Space, and Identity



Symposium Graduate Credit

The symposium earns four semester hours of graduate credit; enrollment in the institute is on a non-credit basis.

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