An award winning author is headlining a new literary event celebrating the beauty of books at the University of West Florida. "On April 29, we are going to sponsor a Pensacola Literary Symposium" said Dr. Kathleen Heubach, Associate Professor of Teacher Education and the Director of the Institute of Community Learning at the UWF. She says that while the event, which will be held at the university's conference center will be open to everyone, it will be aimed primarily at teachers. "It [will be] an outstanding opportunity for professional development." teachers will learn current methods for teaching struggling readers and students in poverty. Teachers from the National Writing Project will also be on hand to share what they have learned.
UWF began its participation in the National Writing Project a little over a year ago. One of the people who made that happen is Dr. Susan James, Assistant Professor of Education and Educational Leadership. She’s also one of the leaders organizing the literary symposium. She says she’s exciting about the appearance of keynote speaker Matt De La Pena. "He is a New York Times best selling author and he is the winner of the Newbery Award. And what's surprising is that Matt won this award for a picture book. It's actually the first picture book [to win] the Newbery."
De La Pena was also the first Hispanic author to win the Newbery, for his book Last Stop on Market Street, which was illustrated by Christian Robinson. "His book it just about a ride on a bus where a young boy named C.J. is with his Nana, and Nana teaches him that we need to see the beauty in the world around us." While he is in town, De La Pena will be holding an invitation only session with many young students from the area.
As for the literary event itself, after the keynote address Dr. Heubach says attendees will have a pretty full day. There will be sessions focused on Pre-K, elementary, middle and high school teachers. "The sessions will focus on providing effective instruction in reading and writing and across the disciplines, as well as some special presentations by our National Writing Project fellows who have participated in the summer institutes."
Registration for the Pensacola Literary Symposium is underway at the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County website. Attendance will be limited to 300 people.