Youth Literature Festival

Held every other year, the Youth Literature Festival seeks to put literature at the heart of our lives. The 2016 festival brought award-winning authors and artists of youth literature to a wide area of schools in a three-day event culminating in a Community Day Celebration.  In the first two days, twenty-four authors and artists visited over 70 schools in Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding areas.  At the Community Day event, held at the iHotel and Conference Center on October 22nd, visitors had the opportunity to attend author and artist panels, visit the authors and get their autographs, and enjoy puppetry, music, dance, and crafts for youngsters. Children who visited the REEEC activity table learned about the Russian Firebird folktales and created firebird masks.

A co-sponsor of the festival, REEEC helped to bring Eugene Yelchin, a Russian-born author and illustrator, to the festival. Yelchin’s novel, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, received a Newberry Honor.  His most recent book is The Haunting of Falcon House. During the festival, Yelchin visited Gibson City Middle School, St. Malachy in Rantoul, Arcola Junior High School, and the Champaign Public Library. As part of his visit, Yelchin also met with faculty and students on the University of Illinois campus in a lunch time discussion sponsored by the Program for Studies in Jewish Culture and Society and REEEC. At the Community Day, Yelchin autographed books and discussed black and white illustration in a presentation entitled, “The Many Colors of Black and White.”

Eugene Yelchin

Author Eugene Yelchin presenting “The Many Colors of Black and White”

Find out more about Eugene Yelchin and his award-winning book at

For teachers interested in using Breaking Stalin’s Nose in their classes, REEEC has developed a lesson plan. For more information, please see:

For more information on the Youth Literature Festival, visit

The Youth Literature Festival is made possible by the efforts of the College of Education at Illinois and the University Library. This program is partially supported by the Glenna S. Udre Program in Literacy. Co-sponsored by REEEC and many generous sponsors.

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