Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

Friends Forum — The joy of children’s literature: A conversation without a net

April 14 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Mr. Kerlan

The joy of children’s literature: A conversation without a net

Friends Forum | Sunday, April 14, 2024
Doors open at 2 p.m. | Program begins at 2:30 p.m. with a reception to follow

Please join us on the afternoon of April 14 for a Friends Forum event. Expect the unexpected as we feature a free-wheeling conversation about children’s books and their creators with award-winning authors Andrea Davis Pinkney and Jon Scieszka, and Kerlan Curator Lisa Von Drasek.

The event also will feature a sneak preview of the upcoming fall Kerlan Collection exhibit that celebrates the work of Ezra Jack Keats, contemporary picture-book creators, and explores the history of representation in English-language children’s books.

Register for the event

About the presenters

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is an award-winning author of more than 50 books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor, and the Parenting Publications gold medal, among other citations. She is a four-time NAACP Image Award nominee, recipient of the Regina Medal and the Arbuthnot Honor Award. In addition, Pinkney has been inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. She and her work are the subject of the Emmy-nominated short film, “Andrea Davis Pinkney: National Author Engagement.”

Pinkney also is the librettist for the Houston Grand Opera’s “The Snowy Day Opera,” based on the beloved bestselling children’s picture book classic “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. She has served on the creative teams for several theatrical and audio productions based on works for young people, including those drawn from among her acclaimed books, “Martin Rising: Requiem for a King,” “The Red Pencil,” and “Rhythm Ride: A Trip through the Motown Sound.”

Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka is the author of “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!,” which was published in 1989 by Viking Books and sold over three million copies. It has been translated in 14 languages since its publication. Scieszka is the winner of the Caldecott Honor Medal for his 1992 “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales,” the 2013 recipient of the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for outstanding contributions in the field of children’s literature, and the recipient of the 2020 Kerlan Medal awarded to outstanding writers and illustrators represented in the University of Minnesota’s Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature.

Scieszka has written the graphic-novel memoir, “Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka,” the “SPCHDZ” series, the “Time Warp Trio” series, and the “AstroNuts” series. Scieszka is also well-known for his nonprofit literacy organization, “Guys Read,” which encourages letting boys choose what they want to read, as well as expanding our definition of “reading” by including genres like nonfiction, graphic novels, and humor in what and how boys read. He was the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress.

Lisa Von Drasek

Lisa Von Drasek

Lisa Von Drasek is the Curator of the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature — an internationally recognized resource in the field of children’s literature. Formerly the Children’s Librarian of the Bank Street College of Education, Lisa was the teacher/librarian for pre-k through 8th grade as well as a teacher of Children’s Literature, Storytelling, and Children’s Book Publishing 101 to students in the graduate school of education. While serving as director of Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature, Lisa founded the Cook Prize, given to a STEM book chosen by children grades 3-4.  She was also a frequent guest lecturer at the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science in Storytelling and Folklore, Collection Development, and Services to Children. Lisa has reviewed children’s books for The New York Times,, and Shelf Awareness, among others.

She has served as a juror on the Caldecott Committee, The New York Times Best Illustrated, the Newbery Committee, The Ezra Jack Keats Award, Trudi Birger Prize (Jerusalem Book Fair) National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature, and American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Books. Lisa has lectured on the topics of Writing Boxes: The Reading/Writing Connection in Libraries, Emergent Literacy, Diversity in Children’s Literature, Comics and Literacy, the New Adult,  What Makes an Award Winning Book, and Children’s Choice Awards.

About the Friends Forum

Friends Forum: A Series for Curious Minds is a speaker series for the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Each year, Friends Forum presents five to six events featuring fascinating topics that reflect contemporary issues in cultural affairs, literary arts, public affairs, and more  — programming you will not find elsewhere.

Event details

What: The Friends Forum: A Series for Curious Minds | The joy of children’s literature: A conversation without a net
When: Sunday, April 14, 2024 | Doors open at 2 p.m. | Program begins at 2:30 p.m. with a reception to follow
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, room 120 | Parking & directions


April 14
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:
Event Tags:
, , ,


University of Minnesota Libraries
View Organizer Website


Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
222 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455 United States
+ Google Map

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Privacy Statement | Acceptable Use of IT Resources