UH Hilo to co-host 2021 Conference on Literature and Hawai‘i’s Children, June 7

The full conference (June 4-8) is geared for all ages. The Hilo event on June 7 showcases several panelists who are based on Hawai‘i Island, such as keynote speaker Caren Loebel-Fried who lives in Volcano, Justina Mattos and Kamalani Johnson who teach at UH Hilo, and librarians from around the island. 


Banner for Hawaii Children's Literature Conference

By Susan Enright

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is co-hosting the 20th Biennial Conference on Literature and Hawai‘i’s Children. Sponsored by the nonprofit Children’s Literature Hawaiʻi, this year’s theme is “A Net Full of Stories, Imagined and Real.”

The 2021 conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island as virtual events. On Oʻahu, the conference will stream online June 4-8 from Tenney Theatre and Chaminade University. On Hawaiʻi Island, the conference will stream online on June 7 from UH Hilo and requires a separate registration.

Caren Loebel Fried
Caren Loebel-Fried
Lehua Parker
Lehua Parker

The Oʻahu event features Lehua Parker, author of several award-winning books including 2017 Nēnē Award nominee One Boy, No Water. The Hilo event features Caren Loebel-Fried, an eco-focused, award- winning artist and author known for her gorgeous hand-colored block prints. The two featured guests will be presenting keynote speeches, holding professional sessions, and leading workshops.

“The UH Hilo English department is delighted to host a one-day Children’s Literature Hawai‘i webinar,” says says Kirsten Møllegaard, professor and chair of UH Hilo’s English department.

Kamalani Johnson
Kamalani Johnson
Caren Loebel Fried
Justina Mattos

The Hilo event showcases several panelists who are based on Hawai’i Island, such as keynote speaker Loebel-Fried who lives in Volcano. Also presenting is a roundtable of children’s librarians from the public libraries in Kona, Kealakekua, and Hilo as well as UH Hilo faculty Justina Mattos, an assistant professor of performing arts who recently received the UH Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching, and Kamalani Johnson, a lecturer and curriculum specialist at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

Comics artist Jon J. Murakami, a frequent visitor and guest speaker at UH Hilo, will be joining the Hilo event from O‘ahu.

Kirsten Mollegaard wearing glasses and smiling at the camera
Kirsten Møllegaard

“In organizing the Hilo event, we’ve made an effort to celebrate the creativity, artistry, and joy of working with children and literature that exist in our local communities,” says Møllegaard.

Other presenters during the June 4-8 conference include local and national writers, artists, educators, scholars, and performers.

This year, Children’s Literature Hawaiʻi will present its inaugural Hall of Fame award to James Rumford, local author-illustrator who was the featured artist at the 2012 conference. Rumford’s picture books transport readers to worlds as wide-ranging as fifteenth-century China, ancient Greece, and modern-day Baghdad—and his style is as varied as his stories. Rumford’s deep research and joyfully crafted stories have garnered multiple national awards.

All ages welcome

The conference (June 4-8) is geared for all ages.

The Hilo event on June 7 showcases several panelists who are based on Hawai’i Island, such as keynote speaker Loebel-Fried who lives in Volcano, Justina Mattos and Kamalani Johnson who teach at UH Hilo, and librarians from around the island.

At the Oʻahu event, keiki will enjoy Story Magic activities including crafts and a performance by Honolulu Theatre for Youth. Teens may attend adult sessions and sign up for special Teen Track Workshops with featured guest Parker. Adults may sign up for professional workshops and attend 20+ sessions that are organized into three strands: Interpreting Literature, Using Literature, and Creating Literature.

Sponsors

This year’s Conference on Literature and Hawai‘i’s Children is sponsored by the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, UH Mānoa Department of English, Chaminade University of Honolulu, UH Hilo Department of English, and SEED UH Mānoa. Contributing organizations include Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Hawaiʻi State Public Library System.

Children’s Literature Hawaiʻi (CLH) champions literature as a primary part of every child’s education. The group promotes opportunities to experience, interpret, and create children’s literature through activities such as reading, storytelling, art, drama, song, and scholarly discussion.


UPDATE:  Keynote by Caren Loebel-Fried at UH Hilo event


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.