Honoring Nancy Johnson!

Honoring Nancy Johnson!


During her 25 years at Western, Dr. Johnson has been a superlative educator, preparing elementary and secondary Language Arts teachers who have gone on to distinguished careers all over the region. A nationally and internationally renowned expert in children’s and young adult literature, she shares her passion for the field across disciplines, inspiring educators and youth.  Dr. Johnson has also been the driving force behind the Children’s Literature Conference, the premiere event of its kind in the country.

Dr. Johnson is a dedicated and compassionate mentor and colleague, whose devotion to her students, department, university, community, and profession are unsurpassed. Her legacy continues in her work with the Children's Literature Conference! This event has become an annual tradition for many, where teachers and librarians, readers and writers gather to celebrate and learn about children’s literature.

A gift in honor of Nancy Johnson will provide funds to bring authors and illustrators into area schools. It has been longtime dream to connect our conference presenters with kids! There are university and community college students who want to attend our conference and we would like to establish a reliable scholarship fund. Your generous donation will establish an endowment for both these efforts! 

WWU's Children's/Young Adult Literature Conference is planned to inspire, educate, and inform our attendees as readers, writer, and artists, and as parents, teachers, and book aficionados. Heading into our 17th year, we’re still energized by what we learn from the award-winning authors and artists who travel to Western’s campus for this annual event breathing life and voice and wonder to stories real and imagined.

Save the Date — February 29, 2020. Join us for our 17th Conference!

A specialist in children's and young adult literature and English/language arts education, Johnson co-authored The Wonder of It All: When Literature and Literacy Intersect, Literature Circles Resource Guide, Getting Started with Literature Circles, and co-edited Literature Circles and Response. She also co-authored the “Children’s Literature” column in The Journal of Children’s Literature and the “Children’s Books” monthly review feature in The Reading Teacher. She served on ALA's 2017 Batchelder Committee for translated books written for children and teens, the 2013 Caldecott Award selection committee, the 2003 Newbery Award selection committee, and a two-year term on the Amelia Walden Award selection committee for young adult literature. She is currently serving on the 2021 Arbuthnot Lecture selection committee and in the fall of 2019 will pursue research interests in poetry on a fellowship at the International Youth Library in Munich. In 2003 Johnson received the Arbuthnot Award granted by the International Reading Association for teaching and advocacy of children's literature. Active in NCTE and ALA, Johnson works with teachers and students in schools locally, nationally, and internationally. In addition, she directed Western's annual Children's/Young Adult Literature Conference from 2004-2019 and is the co-director of WWU's PoetryCHaT, a special collection site focused on poetry for children and teens. Her research interests include children's/young adult literature, English/language arts education, and multimodal forms of reader response.

List of Nancy's Publications:

The Wonder of It All: When Literature and Literacy Intersect (Heinemann), co-authored with Cyndi Giorgis, was published in late summer 2007. In addition, her books include: Literature Circles and Response (co-edited with Katherine L. Schlick Noe and Bonnie Campbell Hill; Christopher-Gordon Publ., 1995), Getting Started with Literature Circles (co-authored with Katherine L. Schlick Noe; Christopher-Gordon Publ., 1999) and Literature Circles Resource Guide (with Bonnie Campbell Hill and Katherine L. Schlick Noe; Christopher-Gordon Publ., 2001).  She also co-authored the “Children’s Literature” column in The Journal of Children’s Literature and the “Children’s Books” review in The Reading Teacher. An active member of NCTE, IRA, and ALA, she served on the 2003 Newbery Award selection committee and was awarded the Arbuthnot Award by the International Reading Association for teaching and advocacy of children’s literature in 2003.

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