Blogger Maria Trivisonno

The 35th Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth

Back in February 2020, the board of the Virginia Hamilton Conference (of which I am a member) was eagerly planning the 35th anniversary of the longest-running event in the United States to focus exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults.  We were especially excited that our keynote speaker, illustrator Floyd Cooper, was planning on visiting area schools in conjunction with the Conference. And then…2020. 

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Empowering Young Voices Through Illustrated Stories at #alamw21

Scholastic’s “Empowering Young Voices Through Illustrated Stories” was like a behind-the-scenes meeting with the creators of three new picture books. These titles included Lala’s Words by Gracey Zhang, The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier, and Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn and Victo Ngai. All eloquent storytellers, visual and written, the creators put emphasis on the importance of empathy and multicultural representation, as well as believing in oneself and the change that we can create ourselves. Mượn Thị Văn says these steps can be big or small and has hope that readers will be empowered to take them after reading Wishes. Brenda Maier pointed out a lesson in The Little Blue Bridge, that you cannot control others, only how you react to a situation yourself. Gracey Zhang expressed how important words are and the way they are used, as well as the importance of the images and what they portray….

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

The Virginia Hamilton Conference Creative Outreach Grants

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth celebrates its 35th anniversary on April 30th at Kent State University.  The Conference is the longest running event in the country that focuses exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. Besides offering workshops on a myriad of topics, the Conference offers several awards, including the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.  The application deadline is February 28th, and you or a colleague may be eligible. Each year, two $1000 grants are awarded—one to a K-12 teacher and another to a school or public librarian.  According to the Conference website, criteria for a proposal includes a program that: Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature; Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton; Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service; Includes a plan…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Multicultural Musings: The Virginia Hamilton Conference

I’ve recently taken a deep dive into my family genealogy.  Besides a lot of research into old historical documents, I took a DNA test and discovered that I’m as Italian as I thought I was—a fact about which I am extremely happy, long being proud of the heritage and birthplace of all four of my grandparents.  I also discovered a trace amount of Iberian and Senegalese DNA.  Could Moorish Spain be in my past?  I just love the idea that I am connected to yet another part of history.  I’m now itching to read up on the subject.   Thinking about culture always leads me into thoughts on diversity.  I am a white librarian working in a community that is overwhelmingly African-American.  I grew up loving books and I want the children I work with to feel the same.  I think it’s the responsibility of all children’s librarians to read…