Libraries' News, Events, Exhibits en 120 Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons among Panelists to speak at USM Criminal Justice Forum Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons will join other panelists Thursday, March 30, at a Justice in the Mississippi State Penitentiary: Past Reflections, Present Challenges and Future Directions.   The forum, to be moderated by Alan Thompson, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice will address current conditions in the state’s prisons and efforts to reduce crime and recidivism. Panelists are: Willie Simmons, Mississippi State Senator; Leonard Vincent, Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) General Counsel; Dilworth Ricks, MDOC Victim Services director and R. Kim Rushing, author of Parchman. The family of former Superintendent Wiggins will also be in attendance. The Forum will be held in the International Center building auditorium, Rm 101 from 6 pm – 7:15 pm. 

The following morning, student and other volunteers will gather in the Cook library art gallery to for a reading and book-signing by R. Kim Rushing, author of the recent photography book on Parchman. There will also be readings of inmate letters and excerpts from Louis Bourgeois, Unit 30: New Writing from Parchman Farm, a recent collection of prison writing from Vox's Prison Writes Initiative (PWI) as well as a synopsis of victims’ letters presented by Dilworth Ricks. After the readings, volunteers will package the books that have been donated to Big House Books over the last month to mail to inmates in the Mississippi penitentiary system. The event will be held March 31, 10am.

These events conclude the exhibition currently installed at USM’s Cook library on the history of Parchman.

All events are free and open to the publicThis official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 15:38:45 -0600 Dawn Smith <>
Mississippi painter Kate Freeman Clark subject of lecture by author Carolyn Brown Award-winning author Carolyn Brown of Jackson, Miss. will discuss her new book, The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark, on Friday, March 24 at 5:30 pm at Oddfellows Gallery in downtown Hattiesburg. This event is part of “Lectures, Lore and Lessons: Mississippi at the Bicentennial,” an event and lecture series celebrating Mississippi’s bicentennial, hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi University Libraries’ Special Collections.

Clark is one of Mississippi’s most significant artists, and The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark gives insight into her life and work. Paintings by Kate Freeman Clark from the William Carey University Collection will be on view in the gallery the evening of the lecture.

As a young woman, Clark enrolled in the Art Students League in New York to study under many great artists of the day, most notably William Merritt Chase. For six consecutive summers, she attended his Shinnecock Summer School in Long Island, where she mastered the plein air technique.  Chase considered Clark his “most talented pupil.”

Upon returning to her home in Holly Springs, Miss. in 1923, Clark abandoned painting.  It was not until after her death in 1957 that the town of Holly Springs learned about her life and painting career in New York. Clark left all of her art, which had been stored for 40 years in a warehouse in New York, to the town of Holly Springs.  She also bequeathed her family home and some money to be used in developing a museum. 

Brown spent months in Holly Springs researching the Kate Freeman Clark archive. An Artist’s Sketch highlights Clark’s life through primary sources and enlightens readers about the significance of her work.  She is also the author of two previous award-winning biographies: A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty and Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker, both published by University Press of Mississippi. Visit to learn more.

This official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority. To learn more about “Lectures, Lore and Lessons: Mississippi at the Bicentennial” events and lecture series, visit

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 09:22:21 -0600 Dawn Smith <>
New York Times Bestselling Author Nathaniel Philbrick to Speak in Hattiesburg New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award winner, Nathaniel Philbrick, will offer remarks during a special event on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Oddfellows Gallery in downtown Hattiesburg. Philbrick will discuss the nature of his artistic collaboration with artist Wendell Minor, his body of work and take questions from the audience. The event is part of the exhibit Wendell Minor’s America: 25 Years of Children’s Book Art. The exhibit will be open prior to the event at 6:30 p.m. for viewing with a book signing to follow the lecture.

In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book was the basis of the 2015 movie of the same title directed by Ron Howard and inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 PBS American Experience film “Into the Deep” by Ric Burns. Since then, he has published numerous New York Times bestselling historical, non-fiction works. Wendell Minor illustrated Ben’s Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill and Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex for Philbrick.

“I’m looking forward to talking about how Wendell Minor and I came to work on Ben’s Revolution.  I’ll be discussing our process and the challenges of bringing to visual life a true story from the American Revolution. I’ll be referring to images from the book so attendees will get a sneak peek at Ben’s Revolution several months before publication,” says Philbrick of his upcoming lecture in Hattiesburg.  

Minor is the cover artist and designer of over two thousand books for Nathaniel Philbick, Pat Conroy, David McCullough, Fannie Flagg and many others.  His portrait of Truman for the cover of David McCullough’s book is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Minor is nationally known for the artwork he has created for over fifty award-winning children’s books. His many collaborators include Jean Craighead George, Robert Burleigh, Buzz Aldrin, Tony Johnston, Mary Higgins Clark, and last but not least, his wife Florence. In 2009 Wendell and Florence’s If You Were a Penguin, was chosen by Pennsylvania for their “One Book, Every Young Child” 2009 early literacy program, and they enjoyed the month they spent speaking to children in Pennsylvania’s libraries, schools, Head Start facilities, and Museums.

Wendell Minor’s America features over 150 original works by award-winning illustrator, Wendell Minor, at an exhibit from March 2 through May 14 at Oddfellows Gallery. These pieces are part of a traveling exhibit organized by Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Additional Exhibition-Related Programs and Events

Children’s Book Festival 50th Anniversary Reception with Wendell Minor
Thursday, April 7, 5 – 7 p.m.
Oddfellows Gallery

The public is invited to attend the closing reception for the 50th Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at Oddfellows Gallery. Wendell Minor will be the guest of honor and will offer remarks during the reception.

Educators’ Seminar, Professional Development for Teachers and Librarians
Presented by Sarah Campbell, author and photo-illustrator
Friday, April 21, 9 a.m – 3 p.m.
Oddfellows Gallery

Teachers and librarians who want to infuse their lessons with nature, photography, and book-making, and teach nonfiction writing and photography, are invited to attend this one-day seminar. Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be available. The cost is $20 to attend and lunch will be provided. To register visit

Wendell Minor’s America will take visitors on a journey through history, from sea to shining sea, reflecting on the artist’s love of our country’s varied landscape and a deep respect for the environment. For more information about the exhibit and events, contact the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at 601.266.4349 or visit


Tue, 07 Mar 2017 15:20:54 -0600 Dawn Smith <>
Time Management Workshop Spring 2017

Do you have trouble juggling school, work and extracurricular activities? Join us for an interactive one-hour workshop on time management.

Participants will evaluate how they currently spend their time and learn various strategies and tools to help manage distractions and meet goals.

The workshop will be offered twice this semester in Cook Library Room 123.

  • Wednesday, March 22, noon - 1 p.m.
  • Friday, April 21, noon - 1 p.m.

Walk-ins welcome or pre-register online.

For more information, contact Elena Azadbakht at or 601.266.6424.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:55:53 -0600 Dawn Smith <>
2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners Announced 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners Announced

31st Annual Awards for New Writer and New Illustrator




Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at

The University of Southern Mississippi to Present Awards at

Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival on April 6th

NEW YORK—February 23, 2017The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, announced today the winners of the 31st annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Each year a writer and an illustrator are recognized early in their careers for their outstanding work. The 2017 award ceremony will be held on April 6th during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The winners receive a gold medallion as well as an honorarium of $1,000.


“Presenting the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award to new talents in children’s illustrated literature every year is a thrill. These writers and illustrators have created books that reflect the spirit of Keats in so many distinctive ways,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “We are proud to honor artists whose books, like Ezra’s, are wonderful to read and look at and reflect our multicultural world.”


“The Keats Archives at the de Grummond Children’s Collection reminds us of the joy that Ezra’s books have brought to readers and the impact they have had on children’s book writers and illustrators today. Once again, we see that influence in the work of this year’s EJK Book Award winners. We are confident that they’ll join the long list of illustrious past winners whose books continue to delight and make a difference,” said Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.


Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, an award-winning author for children and young adults, will present this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Andrea Davis Pinkney, award-winning author of A Poem for Peter, a lyrical celebration of Ezra Jack Keats and The Snowy Day, will deliver the Keats Lecture.

The 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new writer is:

Jeri Watts for A Piece of Home

Published by Candlewick Press


When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he finds it difficult to adjust to his new life. Everything feels different, and he feels different from everyone. Eventually, Hee Jun learns English, and one day a classmate invites him home. He spots a familiar flower from his grandmother’s garden in Korea—mugunghwa (his friend calls it “rose of Sharon”). Hee Jun brings a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden. Jeri Watts’ lyrical prose combined with lovely illustrations by Hyewon Yum, a past EJK Book Award winner, tell a realistic story about making connections in an unfamiliar world.


Watts said, “My book is based on a true story—a few years ago, I taught a student who, like my main character, had moved from Korea. His struggles affected me deeply as I can only imagine how difficult it is to be displaced as a child, especially when you have no choice in the matter. Winning the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award is overwhelming, in a good way! The name Ezra Jack Keats means so much, and it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve written something other people in the publishing world respect and value in the way they respect Keats’ work.”

The 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new illustrator is:

Micha Archer for Daniel Finds A Poem

Published by by Nancy Paulsen Books, a Penguin Random House imprint


Influenced by the work of Ezra Jack Keats, Archer’s exquisite, colorful collages, created using handmade paper, celebrate the poetry found in the world around us. The story begins when a young boy named Daniel notices a sign on the park gate: “Poetry in the Park. Sunday at 6 o’clock.” Intrigued, he poses the question “What is poetry?” to his friends in the park—a squirrel, a cricket, and other creatures—and in their answers, he finds his own. As author and illustrator, Archer combines simple text with detailed images to introduce early readers to a richly textured world where everything from a cool pond to sun-warmed sand and moonlight on the grass is poetry.


Archer said, “I grew up in a small town and currently live in the woods, but my decision to set my story in a city park is a tribute to Ezra Jack Keats, who made books in which children who live in cities could feel seen and celebrated. I’m a person who learns best through pictures, so Keats’ clear, beautiful collage compositions became part of my early visual vocabulary, inspiring me to eventually work in collage myself. His keen understanding of the child’s point of view also deeply influenced the gentle and observant nature of Daniel, my little ambassador of poetry.”



The 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award honor winners are:

New Writer Honor

  • Stacy McAnulty for Excellent Ed  (illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach, published by Alfred A. Knopf)

New Illustrator Honor

  • Daisy Hirst for The Girl With The Parrot On Her Head (written by Daisy Hirst, published by Candlewick Press)

New Writer Honor & New Illustrator Honor

  • Francesca Sanna for The Journey (Published by Flying Eye Books)

The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Criteria

To be eligible for the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the author and/or illustrator had no more than three children’s picture books published prior to the year under consideration.


The selection committee is comprised of nationally recognized early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature: K.T. Horning, Chair; Rita Auerbach, Jason Chin, Angela Johnson, Claudette McLinn, Sean Qualls, Caroline Ward, Junko Yokota and Paul O. Zelinsky.


Ex officio members are: Deborah Pope, Executive Director, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation; and Ellen Ruffin, Curator, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.


For a complete list of past award winners, visit


For information about submissions, visit


About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

Founded by the late Caldecott award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation fosters children’s love of reading and creative expression by supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivating new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books that reflect the experience of childhood in our diverse culture; and protecting and promoting the work of Keats, whose book The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. Keats. Imagination. Diversity.


For more about the Foundation, please visit

About the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection

The de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi is one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature. The Collection holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,300 authors and illustrators, as well as 180,000+ mostly American and British published books dating back to 1530. Since 1985, the de Grummond Collection has been the home of the Ezra Jack Keats Archive, which includes manuscripts, typescripts, sketches, dummies, illustrations and proofs for Ezra Jack Keats’ books.

For more about the de Grummond, please visit





Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:59:12 -0600 Dawn Smith <>