Children’s Book Week, May 12-18, 2014, is a time to celebrate books written for young readers as well as the joy of reading itself. Established in 1919, the history of the event can be traced to Franklin K. Matthiews, a librarian for the Boys Scouts of America. Many Greek-letter organizations (GLOs) support literacy efforts, reading to children in their communities, raising funds for literacy causes, and collecting books to be distributed to those in need.
Ten authors who have sparked a love of reading and life-long literacy have worn the badges of GLOs.
Brenda W. Clough, Delta Gamma. Although known primarily as a science fiction/fantasy author, Clough wrote a children’s book, An Impossumble Summer.
Jim Davis, Theta Xi. Garfield the cat has provided the most reluctant of readers an opportunity to dive into reading. My belief, especially with my once reluctant reader sons, is that one must find the right bait to hook a child on reading; I believe Garfield has done yeoman’s duty in this effort.
Ree Drummond, Pi Beta Phi. Known more for her Pioneer Woman blog and television show, she has written Charlie the Ranch Dog and Charlie Goes to School. I suspect more Charlie books are in the making.
Neta Lohnes Frazier, Kappa Kappa Gamma. From 1947-73, she published 14 children’s book, four of which received Junior Literary Guild awards.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Far better known as Dr. Seuss, Geisel has a very special place in children’s literature. He is my all-time favorite children’s author. You can read more about him in an earlier post http://wp.me/p20I1i-bh.
Harper Lee, Chi Omega. While her only book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is not a children’s book, it remains a perennial middle school/high school reading assignment. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961.
Deborah Norville, Delta Delta Delta. Known primarily for her work as a television anchor and journalist, she wrote a children’s book, I Don’t Want to Sleep Tonight.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Kappa Alpha Theta. The Yearling won a 1939 Pulitzer Prize.
Ruth Sawyer (Durant), Alpha Xi Delta (alumna initiate). In 1937, her book Roller Skates won the Newberry Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.
Elwyn Brooks “E.B.” White, Phi Gamma Delta. White’s works run the gamut from children’s books – Charlotte’s Web (or “That pig story” as one of my sons used to call it), Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan – to pieces for The New Yorker, to the instructive The Elements of Style (“Strunk & White”). (I suspect Mr. White would have his red pen all over this paragraph!)
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© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved.