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Appalachian Children’s Literature Symposium scheduled for Oct. 28

By Lynn Patterson

BOONE, N.C.—The fourth biennial Children’s Literature Symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University. Poet and author Allan Wolf, authors Alan Gratz and Heather Bouwman and storyteller Donna Washington will present approaches for using literature to facilitate reading, creative writing and storytelling in educational settings.

View larger imagePoet and author Allan Wolf will present the keynote address at the Children’s Literature Symposium to be held Saturday, Oct. 28, in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University.

The symposium is designed to raise awareness of the importance of children’s and young adult literature. It is co-sponsored by the Belk Library and Information Commons and Reich College of Education.

Wolf will present the keynote address and will join Gratz and Bouwman in leading breakout sessions on the theme “Crafting Stories with Poetry and Prose.” Washington will provide a storytelling performance. Lunch is provided and teachers can earn 0.5 continuing education units at no cost.

Wolf is an author and performance poet living in Asheville. He spent 15 years as the educational director of “Poetry Alive!” and is considered one of the founding fathers of the National Poetry Slam movement. Wolf’s books showcase his love of history, research and poetry. His latest verse novel, “The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic,” was awarded the prestigious Claudia Lewis Poetry Award for the best poetry book of the year by Bank Street College. With literally hundreds of poems committed to memory, Wolf travels the country presenting author visits, poetry shows and inspirational talks for all ages.

Gratz is the author of “Refugee,” “Prisoner B-3087,” “Ban this Book” and “The League of Seven” series, as well as several other novels for young readers, short stories for magazines, plays and a few episodes of “City Confidential,” a television documentary series. His books have been listed on The New York Times best-seller list and are frequently selected for the North Carolina Middle and Elementary School Battle of the Books competitions. Gratz’s writing has won several American Library Association (ALA) Top Ten Best Books awards, two YALSA awards and eight state-sponsored awards. He will present programs in Watauga and Wilkes County schools on Oct. 26 and 27. Gratz will also present a free program for the public on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 3 p.m. at the Watauga County Public Library.

Bouwman is the author of two children’s middle grade novels, “The Remarkable & Very True Story of Lucy & Snowcap” and “A Crack in the Sea.” Bouwman’s latest book, “A Crack in the Sea,” is speculative fiction and takes readers on dramatic and poignant journeys between worlds where fantasy and history intersect. She will present programs in Watauga County Schools and at Appalachian. Bouwman lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she is an associate professor of English at the University of St. Thomas.

Washington is a nationally known, award-winning storyteller. Her CD, “A Tureen of Tales,” won the 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and her seven other CDs have been recognized with similar awards. She is also the author of books, “A Pride of African Tales,” “A Big, Spooky House” and “Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa.” Washington performs at schools, storytelling festivals and libraries across the country, and offers workshops in storytelling, writing, education and creative drama.

Margaret Gregor, a librarian in Belk Library and Information Commons Instructional Materials Center, notes the importance of encouraging children and young adults to read. “Reading well-researched fiction and poetry can inspire children to explore their history, learn about current events and become more aware of the world around them. We hope that the teachers and librarians attending the symposium will discover new ways to incorporate fiction, poetry and storytelling in their teaching,” she said.

Beth Frye, an associate professor of reading/language arts in the Reich College of Education added, “This symposium invites participants to personally experience the power of stories and poems. These award-winning children’s book authors offer educators opportunities for imaginative entry into the worlds of fantasy, historical fiction and poetry where curricular content and creativity intersect.”

The symposium is sponsored by Chuck and Pauletta Parker, Mary Helen Ridenhour, Charles and Elaine Graham, and the Martha and Nancy Lee Bivens Distinguished Professorship for Children and Reading.

For more information, contact Margaret Gregor at

Registration is free, and individuals can register for the symposium online at

About the Reich College of Education

Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.

About the Belk Library and Information Commons

University Libraries at Appalachian State University contributes to the campus mission of learning, teaching, advancing knowledge, engagement and effectiveness. Belk Library and Information Commons along with the Nicholas Erneston Music Library provide academic resources for all students and faculty. Within the library, students and faculty find group and quiet study spaces, the Digital Media Studio, the inspire lab, the Idea Factory, digital devices to check out, and special collections such as the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection and Instructional Materials Center. Learn more at