Justin Roberts, Eve Bunting and Michelle Franke (Meyering), whose work empowers children and young adults to stand up to bullying, fight for justice, and navigate social issues, will be recognized at the 8th Annual Children’s Literature Conference on Saturday, May 16 at Wildwood School (Elementary Campus).
Justin Roberts will be presented with the Horace Mann Upstander Book Award. His newest book, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, shares how a small, seemingly invisible and incredibly perceptive young girl stands up bullying on behalf of her and fellow students.
Michelle Franke (Meyering), Executive Director, PEN Center USA, a nonprofit association of more than 700 writers internationally, will be presented with the Community Upstander Achievement. Michelle Franke (Meyering)’s work advocates on behalf of imprisoned, censored or persecuted writers throughout the world while defending everyone’s right to freedom of speech
Eve Bunting, who has written more than 250 books, addresses homelessness, immigration, social unrest and civil rights through stories that encourage children to find their own voices, will be presented with the Lifetime Upstanders Award.
The conference, which brings together authors, readers, writers, teachers, parents and librarians interested in positive and meaningful literature for young people. The event is open to educators, parents and community members who work with children.
Tickets to the event are $35, and include parking, continental breakfast, snacks and a copy of the Upstander Award-winning book The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts. Tickets are available online at upstandersawards.org. AULA students receive tickets at no cost and reduced-price tickets are available by contacting [email protected].
The conference was founded in 2006 by the education department at Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) to advance work that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and encourages young readers to become agents of change. With social justice serving as a major tenet of Antioch University’s curriculum, encouraging children to be “upstanders,” or those who recognize injustice and work to correct it, is an effort that should be celebrated and promoted, according to conference organizers. The May 16 event, which is sponsored by Antioch University Los Angeles, raises awareness about positive ways young people can stand up for themselves and their beliefs.
“The ability to connect with children when they’re realizing the important role they play in society and how one person can influence many is a true gift and very important charge,” said Dr. J. Cynthia McDermott, chair of AULA’s education department. “The Horace Mann Upstanders Awards are just one way to encourage this crucial focus for children’s literature while celebrating the work of those who do so successfully.”