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April 13, 2006

UPG plans children’s literature conference

Want to learn to rhyme, discover how award-winning children’s authors approach their work or gather tips on how to use technology to draw reluctant readers into the library? Pitt-Greensburg’s children’s literature conference, set for May 5, is designed to offer all that and more.

The annual literature conference, now in its 10th year, is funded by the Joan Chambers Children’s Literature Collection at UPG, endowed in 1995 by UPG president emeritus George Chambers in memory of his late wife.

Highlights of the upcoming conference include sessions by Newbery Medal winning children’s author Patricia MacLachlan, who will speak about the creative process behind her books, which include “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” “What You Know First,” and “All the Places to Love.” The fourth book in her Sarah, Plain and Tall series for readers ages 9-12, “More Perfect Than the Moon,” was released in 2004. The next in the series, “Grandfather’s Dance,” is to be published later this year.

MacLachlan’s books for younger readers, ages 4 to 8, include the 2005 release, “Who Loves Me?” and “Once I Ate a Pie,” to be released this spring.

KDKA-TV’s rhyming reporter Dave Crawley will share his secrets on “How to Write a Silly Poem.” The nine-time Emmy winner’s most recent book, “Cat Poems,” is his first solo collection of children’s poetry, featuring two dozen feline-focused verses.

Denise Vega, author of “Click Here (to find out how I survived seventh grade)” will share how writers can use technology, such as blogs and instant messaging, in their works to engage otherwise reluctant readers. Her 2005 novel, written from the point of view of seventh-grader Erin Swift, intersperses the character’s blog entries between chapters of the story. Vega’s own web site ( includes her own blog, answers questions about her writing and includes links to Erin’s blog.

Breakout sessions will allow participants to choose two topics from a selection of 10 featuring authors, educators and more. A complete list appears at

A dinner to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary is planned May 4 in the Hempfield Room of Chambers Hall. Chambers and author Sally Alexander will be the honored guests. Alexander, who lives in Pittsburgh and is legally blind, is the author of books such as “Do You Remember the Color Blue?” and “Mom Can’t See Me.”

Registration for the conference is $70. The cost of the dinner is $10. To register, visit Additional information is available by calling 724/836-7159 or e-mailing

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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