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New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Jerry Craft to speak to Athens Community, teacher education students

The Patton College’s Stevens Literacy Center and the Athens County Public Libraries are hosting three virtual visits with author/illustrator Jerry Craft.

The New York Times bestselling author has been honored with the Newbery Medal, the Kirkus Prize, and the Coretta Scott King Award, among many other awards, and will connect with students on Nov. 19 and the Athens community on Nov. 20.

First, Craft will speak with Athens City School District sixth graders via Zoom on Friday to discuss his journey from “reluctant reader” to successful author and illustrator. All students will receive a copy of Jerry Craft’s debut graphic novel New Kid, thanks to a gracious donation to the Stevens Literacy Center from Deborah McDavis, former Ohio University First Lady.

Teacher Education students, faculty, and staff will also have a dedicated virtual visit on Friday. Craft will touch upon the importance of diverse representation in children’s literature. Having Craft meet with both area middle school students and OHIO students studying to be educators was an important goal from the start of the planning process, emphasizing the need for educators to have a solid connection with the lives and interests of their students.

The entire community at large also has an opportunity to attend a talk by Craft as part of the Athens County Public Libraries’ virtual event to be held on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. Registration for this free public event can be completed here:

Readers of all ages are invited to listen to Craft speak about his experiences as an author and illustrator. A brief Q&A session will conclude the event.

Copies of Craft’s graphic novels New Kid and the follow-up Class Act are available at all branches of the Athens County Public Libraries. Additionally, the Stevens Literacy Center will hold a Scholastic Book Fair on the second floor of Patton Hall on Thursday, Nov. 18, and Friday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 21, from noon to 3 p.m., featuring Jerry Craft’s books along with many more children’s literature for sale.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, these virtual events have been planned as a replacement for the biannual OHIO Literacy Conference. The planning committee is excited to facilitate the three events and hopes that Craft’s voice and art will connect with many in the OHIO and local community.

November 16, 2021
Dawn Mooney