Francelia Butler Conference

reinventing the goddess

July 24, 2021

Keynote Speaker

Juana Martinez-Neal

Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2019 Caldecott Honor for Alma and How She Got Her Name (Candlewick Press), her debut picture book as author-illustrator. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Medal for Fry Bread: A Native American Story (Roaring Brook) and the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for La Princesa and the Pea (Putnam). Juana is the illustrator of La Madre Goose (written by Susan M. Elya, Putnam/Penguin 2016), Babymoon (written by Hayley Barrett, Candlewick 2019) and Swashby and the Sea (written by Beth Ferry, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020).

Juana was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012. She was born in Lima, the capital of Peru, and now lives in Connecticut, with her husband, three children and two dogs. https://juanamartinezneal.com/

About the conference

The Francelia Butler Conference is a one-day, student-run conference dedicated to the study of children’s literature. Graduate students may submit creative and critical papers and children’s book illustration to be critiqued by a panel of distinguished judges. The Shirley Henn Awards, the Margaret Kates Award, and the Amanda Cockrell Award are given to the top submission in each category. Another tradition, the Silent Auction, helps raise funds for future conferences.

About Francelia Butler

Francelia ButlerFrancelia Butler pioneered trails for the scholarly criticism of children’s literature. She created the Children’s Literature journal and was a founding member of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA). In 1992, at Butler’s request Hollins launched a children’s literature graduate program when the university became the sponsor for her scholarly journal. To this day, the graduate students honor Francelia Butler by running a conference in her name, continuing her vision to blaze trails dedicated to the creativity, insight, and academic study of children’s literature.

About Shirley Henn

Shirley Henn was a retired librarian who worked at Hollins for years. She was very interested in the Children’s Literature Program and donated every year to it for the critical and creative awards presented during the Francelia Butler Conference. When she died, she left additional possessions to the university, and the department decided to name the critical and creative awards in her honor.

About Margaret Kates

The art award prize was originally donated by Margaret Kates, a donor who firmly believes in supporting literacy and expression through the arts for children. In 2007 the conference’s silent auction took on the role of funding the Margaret Kates Award and supporting the pursuit of imagination and story in art.

The Amanda Cockrell Award

The Amanda Cockrell Award, named in honor of the founding director of the Hollins Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature, recognizes the creativity, diversity of talent, and drive of current graduate students. More info 

Volunteer opportunities

The conference is run completely by graduate students of Hollins’ Children’s Literature program. There are numerous volunteer opportunities, including committees dedicated to art and silent auction, food and decoration, entertainment, reading, future conference planning, technology, and beyond. The conference provides students experiences to collaborate with peers and build their resumes.

If you’d like more information about volunteer opportunities, feel free to contact the conference chair: Angela Loving.