Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis will help the University of Minnesota celebrate 70 years of Book Week when he gives a lecture Thursday, Oct. 21. Since the 1940s, Book Week has celebrated the impact of children’s literature by hosting some of the most notable writers of books for young readers, including Marguerite Henry, Madeleine L’Engle, Beverly Cleary, and Laurence Yep.
Curtis's last Twin Cities appearance was in 2003 as part of Minnesota Public Radio’s Talking Volumes series. His book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, was the Saint Paul Reads citywide book club selection that same year. The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis produced Bud, Not Buddy in 2008. Curtis will speak about his forthcoming book, The Mighty Miss Malone, which tells the story of Deza, to whom we were briefly introduced in Bud, Not Buddy.
Curtis’s work often couples African-American history with fiction. He shows the role that children’s literature can play in educating children about social issues, ideas of citizenship, and history.
He is the winner of the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Scott O’Dell Award. For the upcoming Mighty Miss Malone, Curtis says that while it took some time to capture protagonist Deza’s voice, “when I finally caught her, I couldn’t help falling in love with this bright, tough, kind and loving child.” Curtis says he hopes to finish the novel soon, “because if anyone deserves a break it’s Deza.”
Book Week is sponsored by the Ruth Mitchell endowment, the Children’s Literature Area of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, CEHD, the Red Balloon Bookshop, and the Children’s Literature Research Collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries.
A complete schedule of Book Week events and registration information is available at cehd.umn.edu/BookWeek.
University of Minnesota Contacts: Diane Cormany, College of Education and Human Development, firstname.lastname@example.org, (612) 626-5650 Patty Mattern, University News Service, email@example.com, (612) 624-2801