After four years of helping local schoolchildren enjoy the magic of reading books, the Penn Libraries' A Book a Day program will now illuminate the book creation process for the young Philadelphians served by the program by organizing visits by children's book artists, writers, illustrators, and translators. The visiting speaker program, made possible through an honoraria fund established by a $5,000 gift from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York, will further foster visual literacy and appreciation of the arts.
"This program will give students a chance to ask questions and gain an appreciation for the work that goes into making a book," said Sibylla Benatova, program manager of A Book a Day and conservation assistant at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Benatova works closely with teachers and librarians to listen to their needs, including the opportunity for children to make the connection between the books and their creators. "We're delighted to add another means for increasing young readers' admiration and respect for the books as an object. We also hope these visits will encourage young artists to write and illustrate their own stories."
The introduction of visitng speakers complements A Book a Day's mission of incorporating ideas that enrich the community and allow the program to grow through - and serve as a platform for - open communication between the schools, teachers, the Penn Libraries, students at Penn's Graduate School of Education, and visiting artists. A Book a Day has been fulfilling this mission since 2014 by providing West Philadelphia's Henry Charles Lea Elementary and Sadie Tanner Mosel Alexander Elementary with a monthly delivery of eight new, hardcover books. Titles are selected to introduce students to music, art history, poetry, or street art, and promote diverse cultural and linguistic experiences that reflect the student body to help students recognize themselves and their classmates on the pages.
Visits have been confirmed for Claudia Zoe Bedrick, a translator and founding publisher of Enchanted Lion Books, and Rosa Chang, a young New York-based illustrator. "We expect that our visitors' personal stories and aspiring careers will send the students a powerful message of inspiration," said Benatova.
About the Penn Libraries
The Penn Libraries serves the world-class faculty and students of Penn’s 12 schools. The mission of the Penn Libraries is to provide high-quality information resources - both print and digital - in a manner that is reliable, timely, responsive to the needs of our constituents, and delivered with expertise while stewarding and preserving the knowledge contained in our holdings. The Penn Libraries is a force for the democratization of access to information and hands-on scholarly experimentation, equally available to all at the University and, increasingly, to the world. Collections at the Penn Libraries comprise more than 8.3 million volumes, over 192,000 journals, some 3.5 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Through our collaborative relationships, we supplement Penn’s great local collections with physical access to the Center for Research Libraries (approximately 5 million items), the combined holdings of the Ivies (more than 70 million volumes), and exclusive electronic access to some 2 million public domain titles in the HathiTrust. Today, the Penn Libraries plays an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination, and is noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design.
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