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NYU to Host “Telling Lives,” a Symposium Exploring Picture Book Biography


Picture book biography is among children’s book publishing’s most rapidly growing genres. This event will bring together children’s literature historians and content creators to discuss trends and challenges.

Children sitting in the NYU Steinhardt's Constantine Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature library
The Constantine Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature at NYU Steinhardt

On Friday, April 13th from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and its Constantine Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature will host “Telling Lives,” a half-day symposium and exploration of picture book biography. The event is free and open to the public.

The program will consist of three parts:

  • An illustrated overview of picture book biography by one of the world’s preeminent scholars and authorities on children’s literature, Leonard S. Marcus.
  • A deep-dive panel discussion about the making of landmark picture book biography, Action Jackson, which tells the story of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. The panel will include the book’s co-author’s Sandra Jordan and Jan Greenberg, Robert Andrew Parker (illustrator), Neal Porter (editor), and Jennifer Browne (designer).
  • A panel discussion around the current popularity of picture book biographies, the value of picture book biographies for school curriculum and home reading, and the creative challenges of tailoring complex subject matter to younger audiences in children’s books. Moderated by NYU Steinhardt's Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Urban Education Fabienne Doucet, panelists will include: Selina Alko (author/illustrator), Sean Qualls (illustrator), Christy Ottaviano (publisher, Henry Holt & Company, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Group), Luann Toth (managing editor, School Library Journal Reviews), and John Parra (illustrator). Audience members are encouraged to bring questions of their own for this panel.

“Telling Lives” celebrates the arrival of a collection of picture book biographies donated to the Georgiou Library by Leonard S. Marcus. This growing collection currently contains 250 volumes. Read more about the initial gift here.

Along with housing this new collection of picture book biographies, the Georgiou Library contains several other categories of children’s literature, including early concept books, fairy tales, poetry, and Caldecott Medal winners and honor books. The library and all books are available as a reference resource to the NYU community, researchers from around the globe and the public by appointment.

WHERE:
The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th Street
New York, NY 10003

Press interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP to Jordan.Bennett@nyu.edu. For any additional information, please contact Kendra Tyson at Kendra.Tyson@nyu.edu.

About the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.