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Caucus Race

Storm and Dissonance: L. M. Montgomery and Conflict
Dates: June 21-25, 2006
Location: University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE

All are welcome at this seventh biennial international conference on L. M. Montgomery. We invite you to join Montgomery scholars, fans, and enthusiasts in an exploration of the theme of "conflict" in the life and works of Canadian author, L.M. Montgomery. Featuring speakers from around the world on topics such as war, family history and relationships, disparity between fact and fiction, the reception of her works internationally, and many more. A number of extra-curricular events and activities complete the programme. For more details on this symposium, including registration information, please visit the L.M. Montgomery Institute website at http://www.lmmontgomery.ca/ and click on "2006 Conference". You can also contact the LMMI directly at lmminst@upei.ca or by phone at (902) 628-4346.

Hollins Announces Summer Session in Children's Literature

Roanoke, Va. - Hollins University's graduate program in children's literature is offering a six-week summer session devoted exclusively to the study of and writing in the genre. The program, which features both M.F.A. and M.A. degree tracks, is presenting the following courses beginning June 19:

  • Creative Writing, a seminar in the writing of imaginative literature for children, taught by Alexandria LaFaye and Hillary Homzie. LaFaye's book, Worth, won the 2005 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; Homzie is the author of four books that have been named Children's-Book-of-the-Month Club Best Books for Children and have been optioned as an animated television series.
  • Advanced Creative Writing Tutorial, taught by Han Nolan, winner of the 1997 National Book Award for Dancing on the Edge. (This course is open only to M.F.A. students in their last two terms.)
    History and Criticism of Children's Literature, taught by J.D. Stahl, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech and an expert in myth and fairy tale, the works of Mark Twain, and German children's literature. The course is designed to introduce students to the study of the history of British and American literature for children and to various critical approaches to that literature.
  • The Fantastic in Children's Literature, an introduction to the history and theory of the fantastic in literature, taught by C.W. Sullivan, III. Sullivan is professor of English at East Carolina University and the author and editor of numerous books.
  • Gender and Girls' Fiction, taught by Julie Pfeiffer, associate professor of English at Hollins and editor of the annual of the Children's Literature Association, Children's Literature. This course uses contemporary theories about gender as a framework for readings of classic texts for girls.
  • The Rise (and Fall) of the Family Story, taught by Brian Attebery, professor of English and director of American studies at Idaho State University and the author of several books, including Decoding Gender in Science Fiction and The Norton Book of Science Fiction (with Ursula K. LeGuin). The course looks at the principal mode of writing for children in the '40s and '50s and why it declined.
  • Children's Literature and Critical Theory, appropriate either for students who do not plan formal study beyond the master's level or who aspire to continue their studies at the Ph.D. level. Taught by Len Hatfield, associate professor of English at Virginia Tech and former president of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.
  • Storytelling, taught by Ann B. Sullivan, an outreach librarian in Greenville, N.C., who has been telling stories to audiences of all ages for more than 20 years and who studied storytelling at the University of Oregon. This class will provide a brief history of storytelling as it has developed in the United States, including traditional storytellers, storytellers with theatrical backgrounds, and particularly storytellers who came out of the public library traditions.

The children's literature program's 2006 summer session will also welcome Anglo-Indian author Jamila Gavin as writer-in-residence and British author and editor Peter Hunt as scholar-in-residence. Gavin's book Coram Boy won the British 2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award. Hunt has written numerous books, including An Introduction to Children's Literature; The Wind in the Willows: A Fragmented Arcadia; and Criticism, Theory and Children's Literature.

Students in Hollins' graduate program in children's literature can earn an M.A. or M.F.A. degree over the course of three to five summers. For more information, contact Amanda Cockrell, program director, at (540) 362-6575 or hugrad@hollins.edu, or go to www.hollins.edu/grad/childlit.


(New York-January 12, 2006) Erica Silverman and Mordicai Gerstein, author and illustrator of Sholom's Treasure: How Sholom Aleichem Became a Writer, and Sarah Darer Littman, author Confessions of a Closet Catholic, are the 2006 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The winners were announced on January 9 at the Midwinter Meeting of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Manhattan. AJL's Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Cambridge, MA this June.

Silverman and Gerstein will receive the 2006 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Younger Readers Category for Sholom's Treasure: How Sholom Aleichem Became a Writer, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. This picture book biography chronicles Sholom's childhood, revealing the influences that turned him into the great Yiddish writer who would give us Fiddler on the Roof. The text and illustrations blend perfectly to bring Sholom to life as a lovable rascal. This is a vital, engaging, living-and-breathing portrait of one of modern Jewish culture's most famous and beloved champions. The book stands alone beautifully, and also makes an excellent introduction to Sholom Aleichem's own works. The book is recommended for grades 2-5.

Littman will receive the 2006 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Older Readers' Category for Confessions of a Closet Catholic, published by Dutton Children's Books. The first-time author's oddly titled book won the hearts of the awards committee with its vivid, honest story of spiritual exploration. Justine Silver struggles to balance her family's expectations that she should be Jewish "but not too Jewish." Frustrated, she follows a Catholic friend's example by giving up Judaism for Lent, and thus begins a search for identity and belonging that will resonate with readers of all religions. By turns funny and heart-wrenching, this tenderly written novel celebrates family, friendship, and faith. The book is recommended for grades 4-8.

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2006: four in the Older Readers' Category and four in the Younger Readers' Category. For Older Readers, the Honor Books are: Memories of Survival by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz published by Hyperion, The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli published by Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela by Uri Shulevitz published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Prince William, Maximilian Minsky and Me by Holly-Jane Rahlens published by Candlewick. For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are: The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden published by Houghton Mifflin, Ruth and Naomi by Jean Marzollo published by Little Brown and Company, Shlemiel Crooks by Anna Olswanger published by Junebug Books, and Kibitzers and Fools: Tales My Zayda Told Me by Simms Taback published by Viking.

In addition to the medal-winners, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee designated thirty Notable Children's Books of Jewish Content for 2006: eighteen in the Older Readers' Category and twelve in the Younger Readers' Category. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at http://www.sydneytaylorbookaward.org/.

Volume 10, Issue 2 The Looking Glass 2 April, 2006

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680