KOKOMO, Ind. — More than 1,000 budding writers and their fans will be on the Indiana University Kokomo campus for the Young Authors Conference Friday, March 23.
IU Kokomo is home to the conference, which Marilyn Skinner, director of the Early Childhood Education Center, said is a perfect fit for the campus' focus on community partnerships, student success, and academic excellence.
"We hope this turns kids on to reading and writing, so they are more likely to succeed in school and be better prepared to succeed in college," Skinner said. "We are proud the Kokomo Area Reading Council brings this event to our campus."
The reading council sponsors the annual conference, which includes a book signing and discussion led by a children's author, literacy activities provided by IU Kokomo School of Education students and, the highlight of the evening, displays of books written by elementary school pupils from the Kokomo area. About 1,000 children write books for the conference.
IU Kokomo graduate Beth Willis, a first grade teacher at Eastern Elementary in Greentown, said several of her students wrote and illustrated books. She encouraged children and their parents to work on their books together at home.
"They (students) will have a real book, with a front cover and back cover, to make them feel like real authors," Willis said. "It's amazing what they come up with when they're allowed to create and write on their own."
Children's author Denise Brennan-Nelson will talk about her writing process and books at 6 p.m. Copies of her books, which include "My Momma Likes to Say," "Someday," and "Buzzy the Bumblebee," will be available to purchase, and Brennan will sign books from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Young Author books will be on display from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Skinner said the Young Authors conference gives children opportunities to learn how books are written and published, and also to display their own finished work.
"I think this conference is important because children learn how to write books, which will excite them about reading books," Skinner said. "The children really enjoy finding their books in the display, and they're so proud to show them off to their families. It's a real moment of pride and success."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.