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Released February 16, 2005

SOUTHERN MISS CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL SET FOR APRIL 6-8

HATTIESBURG – The University of Southern Mississippi’s 38th annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival will include internationally known, award-winning children’s authors and illustrators when this popular event is held April 6-8.

The festival, dedicated to providing an atmosphere for librarians, teachers, researchers and community members to learn about and appreciate children’s literature, is sponsored and organized by the School of Library and Information Science in conjunction with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. It has attracted important sponsorship from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Scholastic Library Publishing, and others.

“It is both an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to showcase such acclaimed talent at the Children’s Book Festival,” said Dr. Catharine Bomhold, director of the festival. “These are the best of the best and they are coming to The University of Southern Mississippi to share of themselves and their experiences. It’s hard to convey the enormity of such an event happening here in Hattiesburg, but we are determined to bring this festival to the national level--this year is just the beginning.”

Highlights of the festival include the presentation of The University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for outstanding achievement in children’s literature; the Ezra Jack Keats Lecture, honoring lifelong dedication to excellence in the field of children’s book illustration; and numerous presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities. In addition, works from conference presenters will be on display at the de Grummond Collection, which houses close to 90,000 published volumes and almost 10,000 archived boxes of original materials and artwork from the world’s best children’s book authors and illustrators.

This year’s recipient of The University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, Kevin Henkes, is the author/illustrator of the popular Lilly’s Purple Purse and winner of the 2005 Caldecott Award for Kitten’s First Full Moon, the 2004 Newbery Honor for Olive’s Ocean, and the 1993 Caldecott honoree for Owen. Henkes, along with other conference presenters, will be on hand for autographs Thursday, April 7, from 1-3 p.m. and Friday, April 8, from 10:15-11:15 a.m. Renowned “artistrator” E.B. Lewis, the 2005 Caldecott honoree for Coming on Home Soon and winner of the 2003 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for Talkin’ About Bessie, will present the Keats lecture on Friday, April 8.

Numerous other noted authors and illustrators will lead presentations and workshops throughout the festival, including Avi (2003 Newbery Award winner for Crispin: The Cross of Lead); Betsy Lewin (2000 Caldecott honoree for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type); Ted Lewin (1994 Caldecott honoree for Peppe the Lamplighter); Esmé Codell (2004 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award winner for Sahara Special); Wil Clay (1993 Coretta Scott King honoree for Little Eight John); and Rose Anne St. Romain (Louisiana Pioneer Storytelling Award winner).

“This year we hope to attract close to 600 attendees to the festival,” said Ginamarie Puggliese, curator of the de Grummond Collection at Southern Miss. “Couple those numbers with more award-winning presenters, and it will not be long before this event garners serious national attention.”

If you would like to spend three days with these acclaimed authors and illustrators, go to www.childrensbookfestival.org for more information or to register, or call the School of Library and Information Science at Southern Miss at (601) 266-4228.

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April 1, 2005 11:11 AM