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The Swiacki Children’s Literature Festival at Framingham State University is an annual celebration of children’s books featuring renowned authors and illustrators in the field.

We are honored this year to host featured speakers Ekua Holmes and Dashka Slater. There will also be a special presentation from FSU alumna Nora Chan ’16, an editor at Curriculum Associates, who will discuss the impact of book bans on children’s literature.

Event Schedule (All events occur in the McCarthy Center)
3 – 5 pm: Registration (McCarthy Student Center Concourse)
3 – 5 pm: Book Sales (1839 Room)
3 – 5 pm: Artist & Author Book Signing (Mazmanian Gallery)
4:30 pm: “What’s New in Children’s Literature” with Samantha Westall & Laura Hudock (Alumni Room)
5:45 pm: Dinner and Remarks by Nora Chan (The Forum)
7:00 pm: Addresses by Ekua Holmes and Dashka Slater

For more details and to register, visit:

About the featured speakers:

Ekua Holmes’ work is collage-based and her subjects, made from cut and torn papers, investigate family histories, relationship dynamics, childhood impressions, and the power of hope, faith and self-determination. Remembering a Roxbury childhood of wonder and delight, she considers herself a part of a long line of Roxbury imagemakers. In this spirit, she supports those who have a calling in the arts as well as keeping her own studio practice ignited. Well known for her work in illustrating children’s literature, Holmes is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King’s John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator award, and a Horn Book award for her illustrations in Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. She also twice won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets and for The Stuff of Stars, written by Marion Dane Bauer. Ms. Holmes currently serves as Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Boston Art Commission and as the Associate Director at the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at MassArt, where she manages and coordinates sparc! the ArtMobile, an art-inspiring, art-transforming vehicle retrofitted to contribute to community-based, multidisciplinary arts programming currently focused in Mission Hill, Roxbury and Dorchester, MA. She received her BFA in Photography from MassArt.

Best-selling author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Her children’s picture books include Escargot, Dangerously Ever After, and The Antlered Ship, a Junior Library Guild selection and a Parents’ Choice Recommended book that received four starred reviews and was named Best Picture Book of the Year by both Amazon and the Northern California Independent Bookseller’s Association. Her New York Times bestselling true-crime narrative, The 57 Bus, has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the 2018 Beatty Award from the California Library Association. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist, an LA Times Book Award Finalist, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Young Adult Book of the Year.

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