2013 Mary Nagel Sweetser Lecture: Lois Lowry
Is there a single book in which Lois Lowry does not speak of love? Her novels, picturebooks, and memoirs stand as love letters to generations of young readers. In Son (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), she expresses the complexities of love, longing, and loss in ways that underscore the power of fiction itself.
Sweetser Lecture and Reception, Saturday July 27.
M.T. Anderson, winner of a National Book Award, experiments with the epistolary form via the implanted media stream in Feed and the letters home in The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing while his picturebook biographies of Handel and Satie (all Candlewick) evoke new devotion.
Jeanne Birdsall has described her National Book Award-winning novel, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and One Very Interesting Boy (Knopf), as a love letter to her childhood reading.
In picturebooks such as Redwoods, Island, and Coral Reef (all Roaring Brook), Jason Chin gets to the heart of pressing ecological concerns and empowers young readers in caring for the earth in all its natural wonders and precious resources.
Shane Evans, who won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Medal for Illustration for Underground, the story of the Underground Railroad's perilous journey, continues to offer visions of loving hope for future generations in the Civil Rights era companion title, We March (both Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook).
In Dead End in Norvelt (Macmillan), winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Jack Gantos revels in the unexpected passions of a small town in all its prized wackiness and memorable obituaries, the last letters of all.
Deborah Heiligman writes of true love in the 2010 National Book Award Finalist and Printz Honor Book, Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (Holt) and reveals a young adult's disenchantment in the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award title Intentions (Knopf).
Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman's collaboration in Why We Broke Up (Little, Brown), a 2012 Printz Honor title, conveys the joy and misery of a young adult's first romance. In words and images, they share the mementos that ignite ardor's flames and sear a broken heart.
Jo Knowles eschews romantic notions of adolescence in her young adult realistic fiction that unflinchingly grapples with social issues, subject positions, and family dynamics. The New York Times Editor's Choice and Kirkus Best Teen Book See You at Harry's (Candlewick) embraces a family's sustaining love, agonizing grief, and hopeful resilience.
Amy Pattee, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and author of Reading the Adolescent Romance: Sweet Valley High and the Young Adult Romance Revolution (Routledge 2011) will lead the graduate symposium that accompanies this institute.
Vicky Smith, Children's and Teen Editor at Kirkus Reviews, negotiates the triangular relationship between reader, writer, and book in reviews she pens and edits, lavishing praise or withholding affection as a taste-maker in the field.
Geisel Honor Book winner Wong Herbert Yee's Mouse and Mole books, including the forthcoming Mouse and Mole Secret Valentine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), continue the treasured beginning reader tradition of the odd-couple friendship.
Cathryn M. Mercier, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Children's Literature
Megan Dowd Lambert, Instructor in Children's Literature and co-director of the summer institute
David Hyde Costello Many thanks to David Hyde Costello for the original art that graces this program. David's work will be on exhibit in the Trustman Art Gallery throughout the month of July 2013.