UST hosts 17th annual Hubbs Children's Literature Conference Feb. 28

17th annual Hubbs Children's Literature Conference Feb. 28 at University of St. Thomas

Authors, illustrators, and teachers of children's literature will gather for the 17th annual Hubbs Children's Literature Conference on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the University of St. Thomas. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the university's O'Shaughnessy Educational Center.

Carol Boston Weatherford

Featured speaker: Award-winning author, poet and critic Carole Boston Weatherford will keynote the conference's first morning session, "Bending Genres, Bridging Generations." A list of some of her more than 30 books reveals just that. Her first book, Juneteenth Jamboree (Lee and Low, 1995), a picture book about the abolition of slavery in Texas, is now available in Spanish. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom (Hyperion, 2006), a book of her spare poetry designed to explain Tubman's struggle to young children, won a Caldecott Honor Award and a Coretta Scott King Award for illustration, along with an NCAAP Image Award. Birmingham, 1963 (Wordsong, 2007), a fictional account of the church bombing that killed four young black girls, also won numerous awards. Her newest book is Becoming Billie Holiday (Boyds Mills Press/Wordsong, 2008), a fictional verse memoir about the jazz legend and Weatherford's first book for young adults.

Weatherford teaches children's and adolescent literature at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. A Baltimore native, she holds an M.A. from the University of Baltimore and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Warren Hanson

Featured speaker: The second featured speaker is author, musician and illustrator Warren Hanson, whose presentation is titled "Making It Up, Then Making It Real."  Hanson, of St. Paul, grew up in South Dakota, earning a theater degree at Augustana College in Sioux Falls; he then attended the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul. He is best known as the illustrator of Tom Hegg's A Cup of Christmas Tea and "Peef" books.

Among topics of the variety of other sessions at the daylong conference:  a review of award-winning children's books for 2009, multicultural books and ideas for teaching about diversity, becoming a professional writer (a presentation by Dr. Heather Bouwman of St. Thomas, who published her first children's novel in 2008) and other  tools for teachers and children's book authors and illustrators.

Cost, including lunch and refreshments, is $55. Students may attend for $15. To register or for further information, visit the conference Web site. Registration is encouraged by Friday, Feb. 20. For further information, call Sonja Runck, (651) 962-4431.

The annual Hubbs Children's Literature Conference provides an opportunity for parents, teachers, students, librarians and others interested in children's literature to share information and learn how to better meet the educational needs of youth.

Sponsored by St. Thomas' School of Education in the university's College of Applied and Professional Studies, the conference is supported by an endowment from Margaret and the late Ronald Hubbs, who were advocates for literacy in Minnesota and provided funds for the St. Thomas libraries' children's literature collection. Ronald Hubbs was president of St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. from 1963 to 1973 and retired as chairman of the board in 1977. He then devoted his time to a variety of educational, civic, cultural and philanthropic organizations. He was a longtime champion of adult literature programs and also was instrumental in establishing a Chinese language program in the St. Paul school district.