Education department hosts illustrator, writer


Kayla Nguyen
Contributing Writer

The department of education is sponsoring presentations by award-winning author and illustrator Don Tate and Newbery award-winning author Clare Vanderpool on Feb. 16 and Feb. 24 respectively.

Both will discuss what it is like to create and publish books but will do so in very different ways. Tate creates works centered on black-culture issues for elementary students, while Vanderpool’s work focuses on historical fiction aimed at adolescents.

Don Tate will be discussing a day in the life of a children’s illustrator and will offer advice on how to start a career in writing and illustrating children’s books. A member of Irving’s Authors and Illustrators in Residence program who has written and illustrated over 40 books, Tate has won recognition for his unique style of painting and computer imaging.

His picture books, including “Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite,” “Summer Sun Risin’” and “Ron’s Big Mission,” have each received multiple awards, and he has spoken at book festivals and writers conferences across Texas.

The Education Department’s Sylvia Whiteacre encourages students to attend because it will be “good for them to hear [Tate] simply talk about what he does” and learn more about his work on black-culture issues, especially since February is Black History Month. Students can attend his informative presentation this Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Media Center in Lower Level Braniff.

Clare Vanderpool is visiting the following week to discuss her Newbery award-winning novel, “Moon Over Manifest,” her first published book. The novel shows her to be an exeptional writer.

English professor Dr. Gregory Roper, who recently read and enjoyed the book himself, described it as “a marvelous story that shows that all of us have stories, all of us have memories, all of us have the sources for wonderful fiction.” He also talked about its “complex narrative structure, sophisticated but clear and elegant language, and well-developed characters.” He encourages Lit Trad IV students to attend in order to gather ideas for their own short stories.

The talk will be of interest to all those interested in the history of the Great Depression and World War I as well as those interested in creative writing, for Vanderpool weaved the two together into a historical-fiction novel inspired by her childhood and her grandparents’ stories. She will be speaking on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Gorman Faculty Lounge.

Roper and Whiteacre hope that members of the community, both students and those outside of UD, will find the talks an excellent way to enjoy the university. Tate will be available after his presentation to talk with students, and there will be a reception in Gorman Faculty Lounge following Vanderpool’s talk to give people a chance to interact with her.


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