Yesterday I was filling out a questionnaire for a promotions manager regarding a book coming out in the spring — a tedious but necessary task to be done now and then. In looking up the address for Maya Kucij, director of the Children’s Literature Festival held annually on the UCMO campus in Warrensburg, MO, I ran across the listings of authors who have donated papers to the university’s archival collection.
Next year will mark the festival’s 50th anniversary. It was started by teacher Phil Sadler and librarian Ophelia Gilbert.
When Phil and Ophelia retired, the festival continued to flourish under the great leadership of Naomi Williamson, and when Naomi retired not long ago, the reins were handed to Maya. We who write or illustrate books for kids count our blessings for this wonderful event and the folks who make it all happen.
You can go to the link provided to see how large the collection of donated manuscripts has grown in the university library over the years. I’m proud to have many of my things in it. They fill three dozen boxes or more. I have a lot more in my basement that I need to place before the humidity ruins them. http://guides.library.ucmo.edu/harrisond1
To show how times have changed, my original donation included over 1,100 letters to and from editors, fans, and others involved in my efforts. Today? Letters? Really?
I’m looking forward to the upcoming Children’s Literature Festival in a couple of weeks. Thousands of kids and dozens of children’s authors and artists come together each year in Warrensburg, Missouri on the campus of University of Central Missouri for two days of sessions. The Festival was started by Phil Sadler and Ophelia Gilbert and is now led by Naomi Williamson. It’s hard to imagine how many young people have attended one or more times to meet the creators of some of their favorite books. 2015 marks the 46th anniversary of the annual event. I began participating 37 years ago in 1978 and I don’t think I’ve missed a year since then.
Many of my friends will be there and I’m eager to see them again. They include Carol (C.S.) Adler; Bill Anderson; Sandy Asher; Brad Sneed; Cheryl Harness; Claudia Mills; Dorinda Nicholson; Patricia Hermes, Ard Hoyt; Janie (J.B.) Cheaney; Jan Greenberg; June Rae Wood; Lois Ruby; Marie Smith; Mary Casanova; Mary Downing (Hahn) Jacob; Michael Spradlin; Roderick Townley; Roland Smith; Obert Skye; Sneed Collard; Terry Trueman; and Vivian Vande Velde plus many others. Lucky me to count such talented, dedicated, and fun people among my friends. You can see why I look forward each year to seeing them again!
Today is a special day for Cheryl Harness and Naomi Williamson.
At the 2014 Missouri Humanities Awards Lunch, Program, and Ceremony, Cheryl will receive this year’s DISTINGUISHED LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD and Naomi will receive an EXEMPLARY COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.
Naomi directs the annual Children’s Literature Festival on the campus of University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. It’s one of the oldest, largest, and most successful festivals in the nation and annually attracts thousands of students, teachers, and parents.
Cheryl is one of those rare, gifted people who can illustrate and write, both beautifully. She can do about anything but one of her specialties is historical nonfiction. Kids and adults of all ages adore her.
So congratulations, my friends. You earned your recognition many times over. Stand up and take a bow.
I’m eager to go to Warrensburg, Missouri on the 16th of this month for the annual Children’s Literature Festival. Thousands of students and adults will be there to meet some of their favorite authors and artists and we’ll all enjoy the opportunity to be together. Here’s a link for more information. http://guides.library.ucmo.edu/clf .
I always look forward to this festival. A lot of old pals will be on the program and each year I make new friends. Of all the things an author gets to do, meeting his audience ranks at the top, both in pleasure and importance. My thanks as always to Naomi Williamson and her incredible crew of volunteers who put on the conference year after year. It’s a beautiful gift to everyone involved.