Students keen on writing or illustrating children's literature: Apply for funding to attend national libraries convention

November 15, 2022

Applications are being accepted from VCU students interested in literacy or library work or writing or illustrating children’s literature through March 1, 2023 for the Christenbury Fund. The recipient will receive funding to attend the  American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, June 22-27, 2023.  As part of this honor, the student also will receive an associate membership in ALA, the nation’s most significant professional organization for librarians.

First, second and third-year undergraduates and first-year graduate students are eligible to apply. Nomination form is online.  

The Leila Christenbury Literacy Fund was established in 2007 with gifts from Leila Christenbury, Commonwealth Professor Emerita in the VCU School of Education.   

“Literacy is the key to a productive and satisfying life, and it has been my privilege to create a fund which can be used in a wide variety of ways to support its acquisition and strengthening,” Christenbury said. “In particular, in my career teaching at VCU I have used children’s and young adult literature as an important gateway to literacy, and being able to further the education and training of those who create this literature is a pleasure.”  

Well-known in national education circles, Christenbury taught English Education at VCU for 32 years, serving as professor, department chair and interim dean. She is a 45-year veteran teacher in secondary English and higher education, former editor of English Journal and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is the recipient of both the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in Teaching and the James N. Britton Award for Educational Research. The focus of her teaching and research is how to teach secondary English and she has a special interest in young adult literature. 

“The experience of a national professional convention is invaluable, and I am pleased to be able to fund this student’s participation,” Christenbury said.

The ALA awards the United States’ most respected prizes in children’s literature including Newbery, Caldecott and the Coretta Scott King Awards. Medalists and honorees, authors and illustrators of the year’s honored books for children and young adults appear at talks, signings and at other gala events during the conference–which will provide the VCU student a rich experience in exploring a panorama of literature for young people.   

To make a gift to the fund, search for Leila Christenbury Fund on this secure page.


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