Caldecott award-winning author Emily Arnold McCully is the featured speaker at "Imagination and Risk: The Picture Book Today," the ninth annual Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference Saturday, Feb. 24, at the University of St. Thomas.

The conference is open to anyone: teachers, parents, storytellers, librarians, students and others interested in encouraging the use of quality children’s literature in homes, schools and communities.

Sponsored by St. Thomas’ School of Education, libraries and Riverbank Review of Children’s Literature, the conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the university’s St. Paul campus.

McCully is a distinguished illustrator and sometimes author of more than 100 children’s books. In 1966, a book editor saw her artwork for a New York City subway advertisement and asked her to illustrate Journey From the Peppermint Express, the first children’s book to receive the National Book Award.

In the years since, McCully has brought a variety of memorable characters to life: Zaza, Blanche, Grania, Felix, Little Kit, Monk, Leo the Magnificat and others in tales of thespian bears, high-wire acts, mice with attitudes and adventurous young girls in a variety of historical settings.

Recent titles include The Pirate Queen, Grandmas at Bat, Mouse Practice, Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls and Monk Camps Out.

The conference also will feature a luncheon and a presentation by Dr. Karin Nelson Hoyle, curator of the University of Minnesota Children’s Literature Research Collections, as well as a variety of workshops on picture books, writing children’s literature, multicultural children’s illustrators, book publishing and other topics.

The Children’s Literature Conference is supported by an endowment by Margaret and the late Ronald Hubbs.The couple also provided funds for the St. Thomas libraries children’s literature collection.

The conference registration fee is $45, which includes the luncheon. Full-time college and university students may attend for $15. For a conference brochure and registration form, call (651) 962-4431.

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