University of South Carolina Children’s and Young Adult Literature Faculty Experts
April 2 — the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson — is International Children’s Book Day. Established in 1967 by the International Board on Books for Young People, the day calls attention to children’s book and inspires a love of reading. The University of South Carolina has faculty in English, library and information science, art, education, theater, dance, literature and culture, offering nearly 40 courses dedicated to the genre.
Dianne Johnson is a children’s book author and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Children’s Literature. She teaches courses in children’s and young adult literature and creative writing for young people. Under the pen-name Dinah Johnson, she has written several children’s books that capture the African-American experience, including “Black Magic,” “Hair Dance” and “All Around Town: The Photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts.” Johnson can discuss the historical significance of African-American children’s books. Contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704, email@example.com
Sara Schwebel, an associate professor of English literature, specializes in the historical developments of children’s and young adult literature. Schwebel’s book “Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms" (2011), traces the formation and influence of what she calls the middle-grade canon, a collection of children’s historical novels that have been taught throughout the U.S. since the 1980s. She currently is working on a print and web project centered on Scott O’Dell’s landmark children’s novel “Island of the Blue Dolphins” (1960) Contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Heid is an associate professor of art education in the Department of Art. She has taught art at all grade levels in both public and private school settings. At the University of South Carolina she teaches courses on children’s artistic and aesthetic development and can discuss why particular pictures books are hits. Contact: Glenn Hare, 803-777-3685, email@example.com Michelle Martin, the Augusta Baker Chair of Childhood Literacy in the School of Library and Information Science, is the founder of Camp-a-Rama, a summer reading initiative. Using books as the foundation for recreational activities, reading is a full-contact experience. Arts and crafts, science and nature exploration, field trips, cooking and silly songs all make reading fun and enjoyable for kids ages 4 to 11. Martin’s research shows that these activities improve children’s and family’s perceptions about reading and prevent “summer slide,” the educational ground lose during the three-month break. Martin can discuss innovative ways parents can spark a joy of reading in their children. Contact: Megan Sexton, Media Relations,803-777-1421, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Jeffcoat is the executive director of the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy, the home of Cocky’s Reading Express. Using Cocky, the Carolina’s fun-loving mascot as inspiration, Cocky’s Reading Express inspires children to understand the importance of life-long reading. The program serves students in 4K through second grade and has distributed nearly 70,000 books throughout South Carolina. Jeffcoat can talk about how the University of South Carolina is combating childhood illiteracy in South Carolina. Contact: Megan Sexton, Media Relations, 803-777-1421, email@example.com