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2013 Zena Sutherland Lecturer Linda Sue Park

Zena Sutherland 2013 Flyer

 Linda Sue Park is delivering the 2013 Zena Sutherland Lecture on May 3rd at the Harold Washington Center, Chicago Public Library. Admission is free but reservations are required; go to to sign up. I’ll be there and hope you will be too!

What the [Very Bad Swearword] Is a Children’s Book Anyway?


I hope none of you is here for answers. Authors are notoriously bad at answers. No, that’s not right. We’re not bad at them. We come up with answers all the time, but our answers tend to be unreliable, personal, anecdotal, and highly imaginative. These things can be drawbacks, as far as answers go, if […]

Gaiman in Chicago


This isn’t quite like the time Sammy Davis, Jr. landed one on Archie Bunker, but it’s close.  Neil Gaiman’s Sutherland Lecture–“What the @#$%&*! Is a Children’s Book, Anyway?”– was a big sold-out success, and we’ll be bringing it to you this fall in the Horn Book Magazine. Meanwhile, I thought I would share my introduction. […]

Why Books? — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Mo Willems

It is an honor to have been asked to talk about books while they still exist. (Spoiler alert: next year’s Sutherland lecturer will be a downloadable app.)

And that, my friends, is the key to my current two-word existential dilemma: “Why books?”

In the past it was enough to say that if you get a book into a kid’s hands, you’re creating a “lifelong reader.” But why does that matter? Do we really want “lifelong readers”? Shouldn’t they at least get to take occasional bathroom breaks? Why is this extraneous question here in the middle of these other ones? And, what does reading do that makes it so special?

>Mo speaks

> . . . and did a great job. I loved that he took on our under-examined slogan “People Need Books” and flipped it to explore how books, unlike TV or digital media, need people–while a TV show will keep rattling on even when you leave the room, a book can’t do anything unless someone is […]

>The Pigeon Speaks

>I’ll be in Chicago tomorrow for the Sutherland Lecture (I would have been flogging it here but the event sold out very quickly) with Mo Willems. He’s interviewed on the occasion by Time Out Chicago, and look for his speech this fall in the Magazine.

>Food and Art

>Tomorrow’s Sutherland Lecturer tells a story. And I know she has many more to tell, so come on down to the Harold Washington Library in Chicago tomorrow night to hear them.

>I’ll Take Things That Are Happening in the Future for $300, Alex

>1. It’s in the mail and features an interview with Margaret Wise Brown as well as some provocative thoughts on why a true respect for children’s books means not eating meat. 2. She’s illustrated some of the most beautiful picture books of the 20th and 21st century and is giving the annual Sutherland Lecture at […]

>Anita Lobel gives the Sutherland Lecture

> Register for this event here.

>Don’t forget!