March 1 & 2, 2003
Alma Flor Ada
Alma Flor Ada is Professor Emerita at USF, founder and first Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the National Assoc. for Bilingual Education (NABE), and award winning author of books for children and adolescents, writes in a variety of genres. Her memoir Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba earned the Pura Belpré Award. My Name is Maria Isabel was a NCSS/CBC Notable Book and ABA "Pick of the Lists" and the Hidden Forest book, Dear Peter Rabbit, won the Parents' Choice Award. Her books for teachers include A Magical Encounter and Authors In the Classroom: Transformative Education for Teachers, Students, and Families. New releases are Pio Peep, I Love Saturdays y domingos and Mamá Goose, A Latino Nursery Treasury. Website: www.almaflorada.com
Leo & Diane Dillon
Photo by Beth Gwinn
Diane Dillon has created a magnificent collection of beautifully illustrated books for children along with her equally famous husband and collaborator, Leo Dillon. She studied art at Los Angeles City College, Skidmore College, and Parsons School of Design. At Parsons she met Leo Dillon and the two artists became fierce rivals, though later their mutual admiration of one another's work turned into friendship, love, ending into marriage and a shared career. After they were married in 1957, they began collaborating artistically. Now they say they cannot tell just which one of them drew which line. For over 40 years the Dillons have created an immense variety of drawings and illustrations for prints, book jackets, textbooks, album covers, children's books. They have received numerous honors including two Caldecott Medals, for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ear: A West African Tale, four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards, two Coretta Scott King Honors, and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal.
Leo Dillon, was born in Brooklyn, just 11 days before his future wife and artistic partner Diane was born on the other coast. His parents, who had emigrated from Trinidad, encouraged his artistic talents. Leo trained as commercial artist at New York City's High School of Industrial Design, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy in hopes of being able to attend college on the G.I. Bill. He entered the Parsons School of Design and there he met and later married Diane Sorber, a fellow student. Their blended talents, which they refer to as the "third artist" has enabled them to produce such treasures as Nancy Willard's Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymous Bosch, Leontyne Price's retelling of Aida, Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, The Girl Who Spun Gold, Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales and Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, Eloise Greenfield's Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems, and the innovative and evocative portrayal of the words from Ecclesiastes, For Everything There is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes. Diane and Leo Dillon live in New York City.
Ana Maria Machado
Ana Maria Machado of Rio de Janeiro received the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for children's literature in 2000 and has been awarded the National Literary Prize by the Brazilian Academy. She has written over 100 books and is published all over the world. She began her career as a painter, then became a teacher, writer and translator. Leaving Brazil, due to the political situation, she lived in exile working as a journalist in Paris for Elle and in London for the BBC. Upon returning to Brazil she continued a career in broadcasting and writing. Her many wonderful books for children include Niña bonita, Camilon, Comilin, La Abuelita, and The Adventurous Grandmother. Website: www.anamariamachado.com
Gerald McDermott, whose "Zomo Reading the World" graced our program in 2003, is a gifted artist and a compelling storyteller. He began art classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts at the age of four, and in high school began blending pictures and tales into evocative films. He was then awarded a National Scholastic Scholarship to New York's Pratt Institute of Design. While still attending college, he was the graphic designer for New York's first educational television station, created animated films, and traveled throughout Europe meeting with other filmmakers. After finishing his degree at Pratt, McDermott produced and directed a series of films on folklore which became the basis for his first children's books. At this time he met and began working with mythologist Joseph Campbell. This fruitful collaboration and friendship had a profound effect on McDermott's artistic vision which reverberates to this day.
McDermott's very first book, Anansi, the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti, was a Caldecott Honor book. He repeated this achievement by being awarded the Caldecott Award for Arrow to the Sun: a Tale from the Pueblo, and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, also a Caldecott Honor Book. His book, Musicians of the Sun, which is based on Aztec myth, has been honored by the American Orff-Schulwerk Organization. The most recent addition to his trickster series is Jabuti the Tortoise; a Trickster Tale from the Amazon. His other achievements include: Daniel O'Rourke: An Irish Tale, Musicians of the Sun, The Stonecutter: A Japanese Folk Tale, Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa, and Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest. Website: www.geraldmcdermott.com
Pat Mora is a much loved poet and author of essays and books for children and adults. A native of El Paso, Texas, the border city where both sets of her grandparents migrated during the Mexican Revolution, she graduated from Texas Western and later received a Master's degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has been a teacher and university administrator, and a recipient of a Kellog National Fellowship to study ways of preserving language and tradition. She was also awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry.
Her poetry collections for adults include Communion, Borders, Chants, Agua Santa: Holy Water, and Aunt Carmen's Book of Practical Saints. Her children's books include Tomas and the Library Lady, The Race of Toad and Deer, The Bakery Lady/La senora de la panadería, Delicious Hulabaloo/Pachanga Deliciosa, The Gift of the Poinsettia/El Regalo de la Flor de Nochebuena,The Desert Is My Mother/El Desierto Es Mi Madre, Listen to the Desert/Oye al Desierto, The Night the Moon Fell: A Maya Myth/La noche que se cayo la luna: Mito Maya, A Birthday Basket for Tia, Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers and Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three and the poetry collections Confetti: Poems for Children and This Big Sky. Her moving autobiographical writing, House of Houses, a family memoir, has been critically acclaimed as was Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle. Pat's newest children's books are A Library for Juana: the World of Sor Juana Inéz and Maria Paints the Hills. She divides her time between Sante Fe, New Mexico and Edgewood, Kentucky and is active in promoting the celebration of April 30th as Día de los niños/Día de los libros. Website: www.patmora.com
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye, born of a Palestinian father and American mother, is a poet, essayist, author and songwriter. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas. Winner of four Pushcart Prizes, she is the author of several collections of poems, including This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World, Hugging the Jukebox, Come With Me: Poems for a Journey (with Paul Janeczko), I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You: Paired Poems by Men and Women, Salting the Ocean: 100 Poems by Young Poets, The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems and Paintings from the Middle East, The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories and Red Suitcase. In March 2002 she published two children's books: Baby Radar and Nineteen Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East. Her wonderful books include Fuel, poems; Habibi, a novel for young readers; Lullaby Raft, a picture book; and Never in a Hurry: Essays on People and Places, a collection of essays.
A Guggenheim Fellow for 1997 and 1998, Nye has received two Jane Addams Children's Book Awards, a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, numerous citations from the American Library Association and was Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress) for 2000. Poetry editor for The Texas Observer and columnist for Organica, Naomi Shihab Nye participated in two PBS documentaries, The Language of Life, with Bill Moyers and The United States of Poetry. Website: www.barclayagency.com/nye
Hudson Talbott, born in Kentucky, picked up a pencil early on and has been drawing and telling stories ever since. Hudson attended the Tyler School of Art in Rome and then stayed in Europe, living in Italy and Holland. Travel has been Hudson's passport to many adventures which he has later turned into beautifully illustrated books, showcasing his interest in other peoples and other cultures. He spent time in Amsterdam to research his book Forging Freedom: A True Story of Heroism During the Holocaust, the story of Jaap Penraat. In Wales Hudson researched his King Arthur series (King Arthur and the Round Table, Lancelot: Tales of King Arthur, King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone, Excalibur) and in Dublin, O' Sullivan Stew: A Tale Cooked Up in Ireland. Trips to Africa, India and the Amazon (Amazon Diary: The Jungle Adventures of Alex Winter) have followed. His first book for children, How to Show Grown-ups the Museum, was commissioned by New York's Museum of Modern Art. Another early book, We're Back!, A Dinosaur's Story was made into a movie. His many wonderful books include Leonardo's Horse, Into the Woods, and The Lady at Liberty: Memoirs of a Monument. Website: www.hudsontalbott.com
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