Photo for Plum Creek Breakfast & Books

Plum Creek Breakfast & Books

March 16, 2019 - 8:00 am


Book Sales Open 8:00 a.m.
Doors Open for Breakfast Buffet Cattle Conference Room 8:30 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction of Keynotes Cattle Conference Room 9:15 a.m.
Molly Bang Keynote: Visual Literacy: Exploring illustrations to help us learn - and remember – science Cattle Conference Room 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Break and giveaways 10:30-10:45
David Small and Sarah Stewart Keynote: The Collaboration Tango: Creating a Picture Book Cattle Conference Room 10:45-11:45 a.m.
Book Sales/Signing 12:00-12:45 p.m.
Lunch Break on Your Own 12:45-1:45 p.m.
You may choose to dine at our campus cafeteria or at any of our local restaurants
Optional Molly Bang Afternoon Workshop: How to Make Emotionally Powerful Pictures 2:00:4:30 p.m.
Offered at no additional cost!

About the Keynotes and Workshop

Visual Literacy: Exploring illustrations to help us learn - and remember – science

For each of the five books in The Sunlight Series, I learned a different scientific concept from the main author, MIT scientist Penny Chisholm. But science involves energy, molecules and interactions that are invisible to us, and processes that evolve over time.

How could I illustrate the books in ways that enable us to make sense of these scientific concepts and get a glimpse of how our whole world works? How could I do this so even young children can grasp these fundamental concepts?

My talk will discuss the choices I made for the illustrations, and I will show how to use the pictures with children so they can explore and begin to understand our world.

The Collaboration Tango: Creating a Picture Book

What does it take to create a successful children’s picture book?

More than you might imagine.

Sarah Stewart and David Small share their points of view about the different approaches to the creative process taken by the writer and the artist when they work together.

How to Make Emotionally Powerful Pictures

Using the principles in my book Picture This, participants will make 2 pictures: one of a scary and one of a tender scene. You will be provided with 4 colors of construction paper and scissors; no other materials are needed. By the end of the workshop, students will understand how to make pictures with clear, powerful expressions of different emotions and will know how to teach this to their own students.

About the Speakers

Photo of Molly Bang

Molly Bang

Molly Bang has been writing and illustrating books for children for over 40 years. Her awards include 3 Caldecott Honors, The Boston-Globe/Horn Book Award, the Giverny Award for best science picture book, and the 2010 and 2012 AAAS Prize for best science picture book. Her book Picture This is the basic text for understanding how picture structure affects our emotions and is used in college arts, photography and graphic design courses around the country. 

Molly has also spent a year each in Bangladesh and in Mali, West Africa as an education consultant in public health programs, as well as a year and a half in Japan as a student. She speaks French and Japanese.

Photo of David Small

David Small

David Small was born and raised in Detroit. In school he became known as “the kid who could draw good.” But he never considered a career in art because it was so easy for him.

At 21, after he had spent many years writing plays, a friend informed David that the doodles he made on the telephone pad were better than anything he had ever written. David switched his major to Art and never looked back. After getting his MFA at the Yale Graduate School of Art, David taught art for many years at the college level.

His first picture book, Eulalie and the Hopping Head, was published in 1981. To date he has illustrated more than 50 picture books. His books have been translated into seven languages, made into DVDs, animated films and musicals, and have won many of the top awards accorded to illustration, including a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book, two Christopher Medals, the 2001 Caldecott Medal, and a 2013 Caldecott Honor Book.

His graphic memoir, Stitches, about his problematic youth, published in September 2009, was a National Book Award Finalist in Young People’s Literature, and named a Michigan Notable Book of the Year 2010. It also received the American Library Association’s 2009 Alex Award, which is given to books published for adults that are suitable for young readers.

In 2015 David received Michigan Author Award. The award, which recognizes an outstanding published body of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or play script, has been given annually since 1992. A panel of judges representing Michigan librarians and the Michigan Center for the Book determines the recipient based on overall literary merit.

Home After Dark, David’s latest graphic novel was published in September 2018. It was named a Best Graphic Novel of 2018 by The Guardian (London), The Washington Post and Amazon. It received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, the Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.

David Small and his wife, author Sarah Stewart, make their home in an 1833 manor house on a bend of the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan. David’s studio, an 1890 farm house also overlooking the river, is just a short walk from home.

Photo of Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart

Born in Corpus Christi, Sarah Stewart spent most of her early life in Texas. As a child her favorite pursuits were digging and daydreaming in her grandmother’s gardens, or reading and writing poetry in a large closet in her parents’ house. Solitude was her best friend, so school was overwhelming. Nevertheless, she fell in love in English class with Blake, Dickinson and Whitman.

Even after many years in college studying Latin and philosophy and many moves away from Texas, gardening and writing remain at the center of her life. With the help of Amish neighbors, Sarah has restored the gardens, orchard and grounds of the historic Michigan home, which she shares with her husband, David Small. She still studies Latin every day and one of her most prized possessions is the Oxford English Dictionary. She says, “I am still the same day-dreamy, shy child who, more than anything else wanted to write some sequence of elegant language that would, upon being read, change the world.” 

A published poet and lifelong diarist, Sarah is the author of six acclaimed children’s books—The Money Tree, The Library, The Gardener, The Journey, The Friend and The Quiet Place (all illustrated by David Small). The Library and The Gardener are best sellers, popular with both children and adults.

For The Gardner, one of the most honored children’s books of 1997, Sarah received the 1997 First Place Juvenile Literary Award from the Friends of American Writers (Chicago). In addition to being named a Caldecott Honor Book for David Small’s illustrations, it earned a Christopher Award, which is given annually to celebrate works of art that affirm the highest values of the human spirit; and was an ABBY (American Booksellers’ Book of the Year) Award Honor Book. It also appeared on the New York Public Library’s, One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing (1997); the School Library Journal, Best Books of the Year, 1997; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 1997 Blue Ribbon List titles; was named an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book for 1997; tied for first place for picture book in Publishers Weekly 1997 Cuffies (awards given annually to booksellers favorite books); was named The Elementary School Library Collection “Selectors’ Choice”; and received Vermont’s 1998 Red Clover Children’s Choice Picture Book Award.

The Journey, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March 2001, was chosen one of the best books of 2001 by Publishers Weekly, the School Library Journal and Booklist. It received the Heartland Prize, Children’s Category, from the Great Lakes Booksellers Association in 2001; it was also named a Riverbank Book of Distinction for 2001.

Her fifth book, illustrated by David Small, titled The Friend, was published in the fall of 2004 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It received a boxed and starred review in Publishers Weekly (PW) June 7, 2004 and named a PW Best Children’s Book of the Year. It was selected as an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice and named a favorite children’s book for fall 2004 by Book Sense.

In June 2007 Sarah was named recipient of the 2007 Michigan Author Award. The award, which recognizes an outstanding published body of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or play script, has been given annually since 1992. A panel of judges representing Michigan librarians and the Michigan Center for the Book determines the recipient based on overall literary merit.

The Quiet Place, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2012, received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. It was also recommended in a February 25, 2013 Huffington Post blog: Nanny Emma’s Pick’s, Part II, Books for children 8-10.

Her latest book, This Book of Mine (illustrated by David Small), will be published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux in September 2019.


1.   Study Latin.

2.   Read the great poetry written in your native language.

3.   Find a quiet place to go every day.

4.   If there’s no quiet place where you live, find a place that’s within you for a few minutes each day.

5.   Put your ambition into writing, never into making money.