Among Hollins’ many celebrated authors, probably the most widely read is Margaret Wise Brown ’32, who wrote hundreds of children’s books and stories during her brief life (she died in 1952 at age forty-two) but is best known for a handful of classics, including The Runaway Bunny (1942) and Goodnight Moon (1947).
Over the past sixty years, Goodnight Moon has become the quintessential bedtime story, selling more than eleven million copies worldwide (the book has been translated into French, Spanish, Hebrew, Swedish, and Hmong). In 1996 the New York Public Library named Goodnight Moon one of its “books of the century.” Brown was one of the first authors to write specifically for children aged two to five. She not only created some of the most enduring and beloved children’s books of all time, but she also developed the concept of the first durable board book.
Beginning June, 2011, Hollins will celebrate Brown’s life and work with a yearlong festival of events, including a stage production of Goodnight Moon, a musical adaptation of The Runaway Bunny featuring musicians from the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and a range of readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.
The start date coincides with the annual Children’s Literature Association conference (held this year at Hollins June 23-25); the summer session of Hollins’ children’s literature graduate program; and the opening of Goodnight, Hush: Classic Children’s Book Illustrations, a two-part exhibition spanning the summers of 2011 and 2012. Held at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, the exhibition will consist of original illustrations by artist Clement Hurd, world-renowned illustrator of many children’s books, including Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, paired with contemporary children’s book artists Thacher Hurd, Ashley Wolff, and Ruth Sanderson. Thacher Hurd, the son of Clement Hurd, will read some of Brown’s books at a story hour on Saturday morning, June 25, and give a lecture on the museum exhibit that afternoon.
The festival will culminate at Reunion 2012, which marks the eightieth anniversary of Brown’s graduation from Hollins and the sixtieth anniversary of her death. Stay tuned for festival plans and activities through the Hollins Web site.