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CANCELED: 35th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference

Due to the overwhelming concerns around COVID-19 the 35th Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth has been canceled. Please find more information regarding COVID-19 and the steps Kent State University is taking to keep its students and employees safe here

The Virginia Hamilton Conference Advisory Board is working to reschedule this important event. Please continue checking the Virginia Hamilton Conference website for additional information.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth is the longest-running event in the United States to focus exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. Honoring author Virginia Hamilton, the conference reflects a commitment to promoting cultural awareness and affirming cultural pride while addressing the array of issues which surround the concept of culture.


Past events at the RCLC

Pajama Party Storytime

Child reading Goodnight Moon in bed

The Reinberger Children's Library Center hosted a Pajama Party in the Reinberger Room in celebration of Read Across America on March 2, 2020. This fun-filled event featured guest storyteller Yayra Tamakloe and children's book illustrator Dave Szalay.


Hands-on Cataloging Events

Two hands-on cataloging events were held in September and November 2018. A group of six students and iSchool alumni learned how to catalog books under the guidance of Lori Slingerland and Josh Pease, Library Support Specialists from Connect. The event was a great success. The participants cataloged over 100 new books for the Reinberger Children’s Library Center collection.


Fifth Annual Mock Caldecott Night

the participants of the mock caldecott event in two lines with the winner and honor books standing up on the table in front of them.

We held our fifth Annual Mock Caldecott Night on Jan. 16, 2019. The participants in the event came together to learn more about what goes into making the decisions for the Caldecott Award each year. Twenty picture books were looked at by our Mock Caldecott committee before and during the event. There was lively discussion from both our in-person and online participants in the event and ultimately a winner and three honor books were selected.

Winner: Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Honor Books: Drawn Together by Minh Le illustrated by Dan Santat

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds illustrated by Dan Santat

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackhall


Kent Comic Arts Festival

The Kent Comic Arts Festival was held in Kent, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Kent celebrated the art of graphic storytelling — also known as "comics" — all day and night with THREE amazing events!

11 a.m.-5 p.m.: #KentCAF 2018 at Kent State University: https://www.facebook.com/events/250870642318344/

5-7 p.m.: Silent charity auction at Troppus Projects in downtown Kent: https://www.facebook.com/events/2349275318632975/

7-10 p.m.: After-party and charity raffle at The Zephyr Pub in downtown Kent: https://www.facebook.com/events/2349275318632975/

Kent CAF 2018 was presented by Wayne Alan Harold Productions in association with the iSchool and Reinberger Children’s Library Center.

Kent Comic Arts Festival

Anniversary Celebration

On Nov. 1, 2018, the Reinberger Children's Library Center celebrated by hosting the 10th and 15th Anniversary Event for the Reinberger and Marantz collections. Three renowned keynotes Chris Raschka, Floyd Cooper and Will Hillenbrand presented their creative process and the importance of picture books in the world of children. Donors Priscilla Drach, Carol Wolfenbarger, Susan Marantz and Dr. Rick Rubin were also in attendance.

chris raschka, Floyd Cooper, Will Hillenbrand

A special donor gift was made available for those who donated $150 or more. 60 packages were made and 32 were given as part of this special offer. The gift package included an autographed first edition book of the Snowman’s Story, a limited edition print signed by the illustrator and a beautiful scarf with a process image which was made in KSU’s TechStyle lab.


Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium

2nd Bi-annual Marantz Picturebook Research SymposiumComics and the Graphic Novel: The Future of the Movement.

The iSchool at Kent State University and the Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC) hosted its second bi-annual Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium, Comics and the Graphic Narrative: The Future of the Movement, on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 through Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.

Scholars, librarians, educators, creators, artists, illustrators and fans gathered on Sunday evening to hear Eisner award-winning comics creator, P. Craig Russell kick off the symposium with a fascinating perspective on the use of panels in comics. On Monday, talented storyboard artist Rafael Rosado delivered another interesting perspective on the comics creator’s process, followed by a day packed full of breakout sessions and panels. Scholars presented their research on topics such as using comics in the classroom, cultural aspects of comics and reaching diverse readers.

One of the main attractions of the symposium was the eye-catching exhibits. Two glass exhibit cases were set in the Marantz Picturebook Collection space, which displayed original drawings from Neil Gaiman’s "The Graveyard Book" by P. Craig Russell and Galen Showman. Two panels, both front and back, were covered with original storyboarding sketches and drawings from "Giants Beware" by Rafael Rosado. And, a very special exhibit was the Mike Curtis Collection of Superman Memorabilia from the Ohio Center for the Book. This exhibit was displayed in two places: the main gallery glass exhibit on the 3rd floor of the library in the iSchool space and two glass floor exhibits on the 1st floor of the Kent State University Library. Each exhibit was filled with nostalgic items, dating back to 1939, of comics, toys, photographs, lunchboxes, clothing, posters and more.

On Tuesday, the symposium started with a keynote presentation by renowned comics researcher Dr. Carol Tilley and wrapped up with a closing keynote talk by iSchool director, Dr. Kendra Albright, and researcher Dr. Karen Gavigan.

The iSchool offers research fellowships connected to the Reinberger Children’s Library Center. This year the Marantz and Albers fellowship recipients either presented or conducted their research in conjunction with the symposium.

The purpose of the Marantz Fellowship (supported by Dr. Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz) is to encourage scholars from the United States and around the world to use the resources of the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art in their research on the study of picture books. Marantz fellow, Dr. Wendy Stephens, Assistant Professor at Jacksonville State University, researched teenage attitudes towards the graphic narrative.

The Albers Fellowship was created by iSchool alumna Jacqueline M. Albers, M.L.S. ’94, to establish an endowment for a guest scholar to study children’s literature using the collections in the Reinberger center. This year, two Albers fellows attended the symposium. Dr. Jennifer Luetkemeyer from Appalachian State University, performed a comparison study on the representation of diverse characters using picture books and graphic novels, and Dr. Karen W. Gavigan, Associate Professor for University of South Carolina and co-author of the graphic novel, AIDS in the End Zone (co-authored by iSchool Director, Dr. Kendra Albright/Young Palmetto Press, 2014) presented her research project, “Visualizing Change through Multicultural and Social Justice Graphic Novels in the U.S. and Australia.” 

The Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium is made possible in part through the generous donation of the late Dr. Ken and Sylvia Marantz, who believed that this event could “bring scholars and researchers in to spend some time in the collection, to uncover insights that [they] hadn’t seen, perhaps, to bring to light talent and so forth, and also to support research-based presentations and publications around the topic.” The iSchool and the RCLC will host the next symposium in 2020 with the theme of picture books in K-12 education.


Comics and Graphic Novel Extravaganza

On Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, a special event, a Comics Extravaganza, was held for symposium attendees and the general public. The event attracted 150 comics fans and aficionados who gathered to take part in cosplay fun, play games, shop vendor tables, enjoy delicious dessert, watch live drawings and meet P. Craig Russell, Galen Showman, Rafael Rosado, Will Hillenbrand, Cody Allen, Wayne Allen Harold and Ted Sikora.


34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference programs

34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference: Literacy: Privilege, or Right?

In October 2018, Virginia Hamilton Conference joined forces with the Literacy Conference and presented a 2-day conference with more than 30 workshops. "Literacy: Privilege or Right?" featured keynote speaker Dr. David Bloome, Literary Award winner Marilyn Nelson, and authors/publishers Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson.