WWU to Host 21st Annual Children’s Literature Conference Feb. 17

BELLINGHAM, WA - Western Washington University will host four award-winning children’s and young adult book authors and illustrators from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Western’s Performing Arts Center as part of Western’s 21st Annual Children’s Literature Conference

The conference brings together teachers, librarians, readers, and writers to celebrate children and young adult literature. The day will include author and illustrator presentations, book sales, autographs, and a question-and-answer panel. 

This year’s speakers include: David Bowles, Dashka Slater, E. B. Lewis, and Jillian Tamaki. Registration is open and available through the conference website at wwuclc.com. The cost to attend is $199, with an early bird rate of $149 available through Jan. 31. Discounts are available for students, para-professionals, retired teachers, and Western employees. 

This year’s featured speakers: 

David Bowles is a Mexican-American author and translator from South Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas, Río Grande Valley. He has written over three dozen award-winning titles, most notably They Call Me Güero and My Two Border Towns. His work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as The New York Times, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, School Library Journal, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. Additionally, David has worked on several TV/film projects, including Victor and Valentino (Cartoon Network), the Moctezuma & Cortés miniseries (Amazon/Amblin) and Monsters and Mysteries in America (Discovery).

In 2019, he co-founded the hashtag and activist movement #DignidadLiteraria, which has negotiated greater Latinx representation in publishing. In 2021, he helped launch Chispa, the Latinx imprint of Scout Comics, for which he serves as co-publisher. See more at https://davidbowles.us.

E. B. Lewis is a decorated illustrator, or "artistrator," as he calls himself. He has published more than 70 books for which he has won countless awards, including a Coretta Scott King Illustrator award and three CSK honors. Lewis’s longtime partnership with Jacqueline Woodson has produced such titles as Each Kindness, The Other Side, and Coming On Home Soon, for which he received a Caldecott Honor. The beautifully crafted picture book biography and winner of the 2010 Orbis Pictus Award, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, pays homage to an uncompromising American artist.

His recent picture book biography of John Lewis, Preaching to the Chickens, with text by Jabari Asim, was a New York Times and Kirkus best-illustrated book and a Golden Kite Honor. See more at eblewis.com. 

Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of many books of fiction and non-fiction for children, teenagers, and adults. Her work has been translated into more than fifteen languages and has won many awards, including the Wanda Gág Read Aloud Award for Escargot. Dashka’s true crime narrative, The 57 Bus, has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist. In 2021, The 57 Bus was named to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time.

Dashka’s latest title, Accountable, is a thought-provoking true story about the revelation of a high school racist social media account and begs the question: What does it mean to be held accountable for harm that takes place behind a screen? The recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dashka was also the winner of the 2023 Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Award. See more at https://www.dashkaslater.com/.

Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator. She grew up in Calgary, Alberta and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. Jillian has been a professional artist since 2003, when she graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design. She does lots of different stuff: comics, picture books, editorial illustration, teaching, even storyboarding for the TV show Adventure Time. Jillian has won numerous award and honors including the Governor General’s Award, Caldecott Honor, Printz Award, Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, Eisner Award, NYTimes Best Illustrated Children’s Books, Society of Publication Designers, Best American Comics, American Illustration, Doug Wright Award, and an Ignatz Award.

Jillian and her cousin Mariko Tamaki are the co-creators of the YA graphic novels SKIM and This One Summer, which won a Governor General’s Award and Caldecott Honor. Super Mutant Magic Academy is a book which collects her webcomics about weird mutant emo kids. Her next book, Roaming, co-created with Mariko, is forthcoming in Fall 2023. See more at https://www.jilliantamaki.com/

To find out more information about the conference or to register, please visit wwuclc.com

Media contact

Sylvia Tag, Western Washington University Libraries, at 360-650-7992 or Sylvia.Tag@wwu.edu