Nínive Calegari is the co-founder with Dave Eggers of 826 National, which she helped grow from a local tutoring program into an influential education phenomenon that partners with schools, families, and community organizations across the country. A former teacher, Calegari is the president of the Teacher Salary Project; the co-author of Teachers Have It Easy; and the co-producer of American Teacher, a documentary by Oscar-winning director Vanessa Roth, with narration by Matt Damon. With Dave Eggers, Calegari started 826 Valencia, a student writing program that has spawned 826 National as well as many other local 826 chapters. She received her teaching credential at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and spent her first year in classroom at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.
Rabb Lecture HallMarc Brown
Marc Brown is the creator, author, and illustrator of the beloved Arthur series, featuring his iconic “little aardvark with a big agenda.” More than 66 million Arthur books are now in print in the United States and the PBS television show Arthur is the network’s most-watched children’s program and the winner of six Emmy Awards. It is enjoyed by children and families in more than 100 countries around the world. Brown and his wife Laurie Krasney Brown are also the creators of the critically-acclaimed nonfiction Dino Life Guides for Families series.
Norton Juster is perhaps best known for his children’s classic, The Phantom Tollbooth. His writing has touched generations of young readers, sparking a love of literature in many of them. The year 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth, which has sold close to four million copies since its publication. In addition to The Phantom Tollbooth, he has also penned a number of other highly acclaimed children’s books, including The Dot & the Line, which was made into an Academy Award-winning animated film, and the recent The Hello, Goodbye Window, illustrated by Chris Raschka, which was awarded a Caldecott Medal.
Mr. Juster’s talk will be moderated by Megan Lambert, an instructor with the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College; she teaches on the Boston campus and in the satellite graduate programs at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Rabb Lecture HallJeff Kinney
Jeff Kinney is the bestselling author and illustrator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which has more than 100 million copies in print in 44 languages around the world. Diary of a Wimpy Kid won Favorite Book at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards three times, and Jeff was twice voted Author of the Year at the Children's Choice Book Awards. Jeff was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World and is the creator of Poptropica.com, a virtual world for kids. The latest book in the series is Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 8, Hard Luck, which has the biggest first printing of any book in 2013, with more in the series to come.
Rabb Lecture HallMaria Tatar
Moderator Cathryn Mercier serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College and the Director of the Children’s Literature graduate degree programs and has held a variety of roles with the college since 1985. She co-authored three biocritical studies of young adult authors and her professional leadership includes roles with the Caldecott Committee, the Newbery Committee, the Sibert Committee, and chairmanship of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee. Mercier has been an advisor to the MacArthur Foundation, currently serves on the National Youth Ambassador Committee of the Children’s Book Council, and is a founding member of Children’s Books Boston.
Alexandra Kennedy is the Executive Director of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, an art museum that celebrates picture books from around the world and offers educational programs that promote arts integration and literacy. Previously, Kennedy was Vice President, Editorial Director for the U.S. Consumer Magazine Group at The Walt Disney Company. She began her 18-year career at Disney as a founding editor of FamilyFun magazine.
Sonia Nieto is the Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture for the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. An educator, researcher, and writer, Nieto has taught students from elementary school through doctoral studies. Her research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of Latinos, immigrants, and other students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Her latest book is Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms.
Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, early readers, and middle grade novels. Lin’s 2010 Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen for Al Roker's TODAY show Kid's Book Club and was a New York Times bestseller. Ling & Ting, her first early reader, was honored with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. Lin was also an Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee in 2011 for the United States. Most of Lin’s books are about the Asian American experience because she believes, "Books erase bias; they make the uncommon everyday and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal."
Rabb Lecture Hall Jack Gantos
Jack Gantos is the author of more than 40 books for children, including the Rotten Ralph picture books and collections of Jack Henry short stories; upper elementary and middle school Joey Pigza novels; young adult novels Love Curse of the Rumbaughs and Desire Lines; and a memoir, Hole in My Life.
Previously, Gantos was a professor at Emerson College where he developed the master’s degree program in Children’s Literature, Writing, and Publishing. He now spends his time writing and is an active speaker at book and literacy conferences, schools, and libraries.
His works received a Newbery Award, Scott O’Dell Award, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, Sibert Honor, National Book Award Finalist Honor, and he is the 2010 recipient of the NCTE/ALAN Award for his contribution to the field of Young Adult and Children’s Literature. Dead End in Norvelt received both the 2012 Newbery Award and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historic Fiction. The companion novel From Norvelt to Nowhere is his most recent release.
The Lowell Lecture series is generously sponsored by the Lowell Institute, established in 1836 with the specific mission of making great ideas accessible to all people, free of charge. During the series' long history, speakers have included Charles Dickens, William James, Margaret Mead, William Makepeace Thackeray and, more recently, Salman Rushdie, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, and Dennis Lehane.
All Lowell Lectures will take place in Rabb Lecture Hall, which is wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices are available. To request a sign language interpreter or for help with other special needs, call 617.859.2295 or 617.536.7055 (TTY) at least two weeks before the program.
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