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Archive for November 21st, 2015

night owl

by Sam Juliano

Note:  The following is a transcript of a classroom presentation delivered on Monday, November 17th in a Children’s Literature II undergraduate class held in Hepburn Hall at Jersey City State University.  Each of the eighteen students enrolled in the class were assigned with finding a picture book to “promote” as a Caldecott Medal candidate, and to argue their case to their peers.  Students were given the option to use smart boards and various hand-outs to support their sponsorship of their choices.  One of the group, a third-year student named Mariana Vega chose a pre-school book titled ‘Night Owl’ by Toni Yuli.  The long-time Professor of the course, Dr. Kathryn Smith served as the moderator.

Dr. Smith:  Can I have your attention please.  Today, Mariana will be talking about her proposed choice for Caldecott Medal recognition.  (looking at Mariana)  Would you state the title of your book and its author and illustrator or both artists is they are different?
Mariana Vega:   My book is ‘Night Owl’ by Toni Yuli, who created both the words and the illustrations.  It is the second book in a proposed trilogy that Ms. Yuli is currently completing.  The first book in her trilogy is Early Bird, which is easy to see as the stylistic forerunner of Night Owl, though as a daytime book it is brighter and more of a primary color book.
Dr. Smith:  Has the author/illustrator produced many books?
Mariana Vega:  No, she has not.  Unlike the protagonist of Early Bird Toni Yuly is a late bloomer.  She has worked for years in the King County Library system and has no doubt brought a wealth of experience as far as being exposed to children’s literature and the needs and preferences of today’s students.  It seems she gets at least some of her inspiration from nature, as she lives and works in a small house near the water in the state of Washington.

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