Kent State Hosts Virginia Hamilton Conference, April 8-9

The 26th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will be held Thursday, April 8, and Friday, April 9, at Kent State University in the Kent Student Center. The conference provides a forum for discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults.

This year’s theme is A New Horizon: The Next 25 Years! The conference features the talents of great wordsmiths and a brilliant illustrator. The conference brings together renowned local writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, students and scholars who share in the importance of multicultural literature.

“Virginia Hamilton, who grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is considered one of the country’s most-honored writers of children’s literature,” said Dr. Carolyn Brodie, a Kent State professor in the School of Library and Information Science. “The Virginia Hamilton Conference showcases some of the wonderful talents in multicultural literature for youth.”

This year’s special guests include:

Pam Muñoz Ryan, Author
Pam Muñoz Ryan has written more than 25 books for young people, including the novel “Esperanza Rising,” which won the Pura Belpre Medal and the Jane Addams Peace Award. It was also named an American Library Association Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and the Americas Award Honor Book. Her novel “Riding Freedom” has garnered many awards, including the national Willa Cather Award and the California Young Reader Medal. Her picture books include the award-winning “Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride” and “When Marian Sang,” the recipient of the American Library Association Sibert Honor and the National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award.

Laurie Halse Anderson, Author
Laurie Halse Anderson is known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, “Speak” and “Chains,” were National Book Award finalists.  “Speak” has won numerous awards and was a National Book Award Finalist, a Printz Honor book, a Booklist “Top10 First Novels of 1999” and a New York Times bestseller. “Speak” was also quickly placed into curriculum at hundreds of middle schools, high schools and colleges around the country.

R. Gregory Christie, Illustrator
R. Gregory Christie held a position at Guggenheim Museum and interned for the Newark Star Ledger newspaper, where his first published work was showcased in 1990. In 1996, his work caught the eye of editors from Lee and Low Books, who gave him the opportunity to paint for “The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children.” The book won a Coretta Scott King Award and also received a Reading Magic award from Parenting magazine.  He is a 2008 Theodore Geisel Award Honor recipient for his book “Jazz Baby,” co-authored with Lisa Wheeler. He also received a Schneider Family Award for his book “The Deaf Musicians” with folk music legend Pete Seeger.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference 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. The conference is held each April at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference is made possible in part by Hamilton Arts, Inc., NEO Regional Library System, Victor C. Laughlin, M.D. Memorial Foundation Trust and the Kent State University Bookstore.
The conference is sponsored by the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Library and Information Science with the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at Kent State University.

The Thursday evening program cost is $40, the Friday program is $120, and both programs are $150, which includes conference materials, continental breakfast, luncheon, featured speakers, two
workshops and parking.

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required.  Registration may be completed online at The registration deadline is Friday, March 26.  For more information, contact Dr. Carolyn Brodie at or 330-672-0012.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2023 07:56 PM