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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.

2013 Institute: Love Letters

Friday July 26 - Sunday July 28, 2013

The Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College will dedicate its 2013 summer institute to the theme of "Love Letters" on the last weekend in July, commencing on the morning of Friday, July 26 and concluding around noon on Sunday, July 28th.


"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:

  • 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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