Young adult novelist A.S. King and children’s book author Mark Weakland are the keynote speakers for Pitt-Greensburg’s 22nd Annual Children’s Literature Conference, to be held Friday, May 4. General admission registration is $70 through March 31, when it increases to $80. Registration for retirees is $60, and full-time college students register for $30. Registration may be completed online at http://www.greensburg.pitt.edu/millstein/clc. The registration fee includes continental breakfast, admission to speakers and sessions, and hot buffet lunch. A book sale/book signing with the authors presenting at the conference closes the event.
In addition to the keynote speakers, 10 breakout sessions on a variety of subjects are offered to conference attendees. The sessions are often interactive and hands-on, offering fresh ideas for educators and librarians to use in their programming for children. Writers interested in the children’s and young adult book markets will also find the sessions informative. The Conference offers ACT 48 and ACT 37 educational credits.
A.S. King (opening keynote address):
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Honor, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The Amelia Walden Award, and The Carolyn Field Award, A.S. King writes young adult novels and short fiction. Her book “I Crawl Through It” was named one of the 50 Best YA Books of All Time by “Booklist.”
Her other YA novels include: “Please Ignore Vera Dietz” (2010), “Everybody Sees the Ants” (2011), “Ask the Passengers” (2012), “Reality Boy” (2013), “Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future” (2014), “I Crawl Through It” (2015), “Still Life with Tornado” (2016), and “The Dust of 100 Dogs,” (2009 & 2017).
King’s YA novels deal with identity and self-discovery, family, choices and consequences, and love. In a “Hub” interview (www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub), she talks about not consciously writing to a theme, but rather, writing personal books that are true emotions superimposed onto people she’s never met before.
Known for her experimental style, unconventional structures, and using magical realism in her work, King is recognized for stepping outside of an often formulaic genre. The “New York Times Book Review” described her as “One of the best YA writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly.”
Her work ranges from short stories for adults, often found in anthologies, to full-length novels. Her first middle-grade novel, “Me and Marvin Gardens,” was published in 2017 under the name Amy Sarig King.
King, who resides in Lititz, PA, is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Mark Weakland (closing keynote address):
Mark Weakland, from Holsopple, PA, is an award-winning children’s book author who incorporates his expertise as a teacher, reading specialist, and musician into his work.
With nearly 50 books to his credit, Weakland’s work spans children’s fiction, teacher books, and supporting materials. His books have won the Green Prize for Sustainable Fiction (“Onion Juice, Poop, and other Surprising Sources of Alternative Energy”), a Eureka Nonfiction Children’s Book Award (“Bubble Float, Bubbles Pop”), a Parents’ Choice Audio Book award (“Delicious Chocolate Donut (and Other Off-Kilter Poems)”), and a Child Magazine’s Creative Child Award (nonfiction). His Capstone Press and Picture Window Books include collaborations with Sports Illustrated and Warner Brothers. He has teacher resource books published with Kagan Publishing and The International Reading Association.
A national and regional teacher and consultant, Weakland works with students, teachers, and administrators to create effective literacy programs as well as authentic and extended reading and writing experiences. He strives to bring encouraging, practical, and achievable solutions for literacy issues, whether speaking at national conventions or working with regional school districts.
Pragmatic solutions based on research and best-practices are his goal for both teachers and administrators. His workshops, presentations, and job-embedded residencies address elementary writing programs, core-reading programs, student-used metacognition strategies, and instructional techniques that build on music and movement.
Weakland holds a master’s of education degree from the University of Pittsburgh. A recipient of an Owens Fellowship, he studied in Japan under the auspices of the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund. His teaching certifications include reading specialist, special education, elementary education, and general science.
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 29 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Nursing, Healthcare Management, Public Policy, and Education, as well as 24 minors and five certificate programs. With nearly 1,500 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community.