Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival welcomes acclaimed authors and educators

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 8 years ago on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 12:20 PM
Children from across the state met acclaimed authors and illustrators at the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival Sept. 26-28.

Nearly 10,000 children and adults from across the Midwest celebrated reading as part of the 18thannual Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival Sept. 26-28 on the Concordia University, Nebraska campus. The festival connected youth and adults with nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators to encourage literacy and education.

This year’s festival featured nine authors and illustrators: Anna Dewdney, Candace Fleming, Marla Frazee, Kevin Henkes, Barbara McClintock, Marc Tyler Nobleman, Judy Schachner, Neal Shusterman and Eric Rohmann. These presenters visited students in Seward-area and Lincoln schools on Thursday, Sept. 26. On Friday, Sept. 27, thousands of students and educators from all over the Midwest participated in literacy activities and attended sessions on Concordia’s campus where they met with the authors and illustrators.

The adult conference on Saturday, Sept. 28, included workshops presented by authors, illustrators and literacy experts. The adult sessions were of special interest to early childhood, elementary, middle-level and secondary teachers, reading specialists, home school teachers and media specialists. Books were for sale during the conference.

This year’s conference lineup included Dr. Timothy Rasinski, professor of literacy education at Kent State University and author of the best-selling books on reading fluency The Fluent Reader and The Fluent Reader in Action; Donalyn Miller, the Texas middle school teacher who wrote The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild; and  Dr. Ernest Morrell, professor of English education at Teachers College Columbia University and the current president-elect of the National Council of Teachers of English.

The festival also featured the “Children’s Interactive Art Show,” an exhibit featuring children’s art from Concordia’s permanent collection. The exhibit was open to the public in Concordia’s Marxhausen Gallery, located in Jesse Hall.

“Not only does the Seward community benefit from all of these features, I believe they also benefit from working together for the cause of literacy," Janell Uffelman, festival director, said. “Seward is a fantastic place to live and grow, and to give forward to the next generation through the present festival experience.”

Featured authors/illustrators:

Anna Dewdney is the author/illustrator of Llama Llama Red Pajama and New York Times Bestseller Llama Llama Mad at Mama.

Candace Fleming is the author of more than 20 books for children, including, The LincolnsMuncha! Muncha! Muncha!Boxes for KatjeClever Jack Takes the Cake and the Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School books.

Marla Frazee is the author/illustrator of A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, which received a Caldecott Honor Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. She is the illustrator of many books, including the New York Times bestselling Stars, and the New York Times bestselling All the World, which also received a Caldecott Honor Award. Other titles include Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, and The Boss Baby.

Kevin Henkes is the author/ illustrator best known for his books, Lilly's Purple Plastic PurseOwen, a 1994 Caldecott Honor Book;  Kitten's First Full Moon, winner of the Caldecott Medal in 2005; and Olive's Ocean, which won a Newbery Honor in 2004.

Barbara McClintock’s best known books are Adele & SimonDahliaThe Gingerbread Man (written by Jim Aylesworth), Animal Fables from Aesop, and The Heartaches of a French Cat.

Marc Tyler Nobleman is the author and cartoonist of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.

Dr. Timothy Rasinski is a literacy expert and a professor of literacy education at Kent State University.  He is author of the best-selling books on reading fluency The Fluent Reader and The Fluent Reader in Action.

Eric Rohmann is the author/illustrator of Time FliesThe Cinder-Eyed CatsA Kitten's Tale and My Friend Rabbit, which won  a 2002 Caldecott Medal.

Judy Schachner is the #1 New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of the wildly-popular Skippyjon Jones series.

Neal Shusterman wrote Unwind, a One Book One Nebraska selection for teens in 2010, and Full Tilt and Dark Side of Nowhere, which made the Golden Sower list.

Featured Conference presenters:

Dr. Tim Rasinski

‘Whatever Happened to the Art of Teaching Reading?’

‘Constructivist Approaches to Phonics and Vocabulary Instruction: Word Study that Works’

‘Beyond Phonics:  Moving to Fluency and then to Proficient Reading:  Helping all students achieve competence in this key and misunderstood area of the reading curriculum’

Dr. Ernest Morrell – NCTE Speaker

‘Cultivating Youth Voices: Literacy in the 21st Century’

Donalyn Miller – The Book Whisperer

‘The Nerdy Book Club: Building Reading Communities’

‘Bring on the Books: The Best Books of 2013 (so far)’

Dr. Vicki Anderson

“Where East and West Shall Meet:” Teaching Reading Strategies to ELL/ESL Readers

Nicole Badgley & Debby Moninger

‘Don’t Be In Jeopardy:  Daily Tech Lessons for Language Arts’

Laura Pietsch

‘New Releases Your Children Will Love’

Beth Campbell

‘Oral Literacy by Design’

Tricia Parker

‘Protecting the Love of Learning in the Age of Accountability’

Dr. Eileen Vautravers, M.D.

‘Why Do Children Struggle with Reading? Do they have Dyslexia?

Kristy Voigt

‘How To Implement Jan Richardson’s Model of Guided Reading In Your Classroom’

More information is available at

Founded in 1994, the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival seeks to encourage a love of reading, writing, and books by bringing nationally renowned authors and illustrators to Nebraska. It is held on the campus of Concordia University, Nebraska in Seward. The festival started as a one day, one author event, with about 200 children present.  Since then, it has grown to three days and nine authors and illustrators.  In 2012, nearly 10,000 children and adults participated.  It currently includes sessions for early childhood, elementary, middle-level and secondary students as well as adults.

The Plum Creek Literacy Festival won the Jane Pope Geske award given by The Nebraska Center for the Book for exceptional literary contributions in 2007.  In 2010, it became a Read Aloud Nebraska Champion.