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Design Department Lecturer and Illustrator Stephen Johnson to speak on children's literature Apr. 18

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

LAWRENCE — The School of Education's Department of Curriculum & Teaching will host two University of Kansas alumni as featured guest speakers at the 2016 Gertrude Way Strong Literature Lecture Series.

This year’s event will include a dessert reception, autograph and book signing session, and formal lectures from both guest speakers. The literature lecture event will take place from 6-9 p.m. Monday, April 18, in 150 Joseph R. Pearson Hall. The event is free and open to the public. 

Featured guests speakers include Stephen Johnson, Lawrence, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in design and illustration and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 1987; and Andrea Warren, Lawrence, who earned her master’s degree in magazine journalism in 1983. Johnson will present “Generating Award-Winning Children’s Books, Gold Medal Illustrations and Permanent Public Artworks.” Warren will present “Why I Write What I Write: The Magic of Teaching History Through the True Stories of Children.”

“The Gertrude Way Strong Literature Lecture allows us to celebrate the successes of our KU alumni who have ‘made it’ in the world of children’s literature,” said Diane Nielsen, professor in the literacy education program within the curriculum & teaching department.

Johnson is a highly versatile artist whose conceptually rich body of work forges connections among words, objects and ideas. His art spans a broad range of concepts, contexts and mediums, including painting, collage, drawing, sculpture and installations, and can be seen in museum and gallery exhibitions, site-specific public art commissions and through his original award-winning children’s books. Among his public artworks are 33 glass panels at Love Field Airport in Dallas and large subway station murals in both Brooklyn, New York, and North Hollywood, California. Johnson also serves as a lecturer for the KU Department of Design. More information about his work can be found online.

Warren is an award-winning nonfiction author who began her career as a high school English teacher before switching to writing and editing. Since 1996, Warren has published eight nonfiction books for young readers, each focused on the stories of young people who have had to overcome great challenges in difficult times. Warren is a recipient of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Sibert Honor Book Award, and she is also the first Kansas author to receive the William Allen White Award. Warren’s most recent book is titled “The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas.” More information about her work and awards can be found online.

The Gertrude Way Strong Literature Lecture event is intended to help celebrate the successes of KU alumni and also to bring awareness to the Gertrude Way Strong Collection at KU. The Gertrude Way Strong Collection was made possible by a gift from Frank R. Strong, the late son of KU's sixth chancellor, in honor of his late wife, Gertrude Way Strong. The goal of this endowment is to build a collection of children’s books that will provide professors and students with a wide variety of quality children’s literature to use in classes and fieldwork with children as well as funds to host lectures by children’s authors and illustrators.

More information on the Gertrude Way Strong Literature Collection and legacy is available online