April 25, 2018  

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Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, Ezra Jack Keats Awards Ceremony April 11-13 at Southern Miss

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Fay B. Kaigler 51st annual Children's Book Festival Mediallion recipient Dav Pilkey (Photo by Kai Suzuki)

Children’s literature author and artist Dav Pilkey will share his work with students attending Hattiesburg elementary schools April 11-13, when he is honored during the 51st annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi. The event is presented by the Southern Miss School of Library and Information Sciences.

Pilkey, whose award-winning and best-selling series Captain Underpants and Dog Manhave cemented his stature as one of children’s literature’s most beloved authors and artists, will be recognized for his achievements at the Festival with its top award, the Southern Miss Medallion. During his visit to the Hattiesburg campus, Pilkey will make a presentation to local schoolchildren April 11, and is waiving his speaking fee to provide free copies of his books to them at the event. 

Also during the festival on April 12, The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at Southern Miss, will recognize the winners of the 32nd annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Each year a writer and an illustrator are recognized early in their careers for their outstanding work.

“I couldn’t be happier with Medallion Winner Dav Pilkey and his generous offer to us and our local students,” said Karen Rowell, coordinator for the Festival. “We expect more than 2,000 schoolchildren will attend his session, and we’re honored to have him coming to Hattiesburg and USM.

“The way his work connects with reluctant readers supports the efforts of teachers and school librarians everywhere to promote reading; his books show children who otherwise might not be motivated to read how much fun it can be.”

Dr. Teresa Poole, associate superintendent of the Hattiesburg Public School District, expressed her gratitude on behalf of the district’s students, teachers and administrators for USM and Pilkey’s support of its efforts to promote literacy.

“We’re very appreciative of Karen and the Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science for partnering with us,” Dr. Poole said. “Mr. Pilkey's books are very popular with our elementary grade students, and I know they will be thrilled to meet one of their favorite authors.” 

The festival will include many other prominent children’s literature authors and artists, who will make presentations about their work to the approximately 600 attendees expected at the event that will also feature workshops, exhibitors and vendors. A private showing of the Captain Underpants movie will also be held during the festival in the new Joe Paul Theater in the Thad Cochran Center, with Pilkey giving a special introduction for the movie. 

For a complete schedule of events and other information about the 51st annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, visit https://www.usm.edu/childrens-book-festival or contact Karen Rowell at karen.rowell@usm.edu