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K-State Today

April 21, 2015



Talk by children’s author Jeanne Birdsall on Thursday

By Karin Westman

Jeanne Birdsall

On Thursday, April 23, best-selling children's author Jeanne Birdsall will speak about her creative work at 4 p.m. in K-State Student Union's Room 226.

Birdsall is the author of New York Times best-selling novels about the Penderwick family. She has collected many honors for her work, including the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Her most recent book, "The Penderwicks in Spring," is the fourth book in the series and was published last month.

Anne Phillips, associate professor of English, is looking forward to hearing Birdsall talk about the books that have shaped her as a writer. Phillips hears echoes of earlier family stories in Birdsall's novels.

"As reviewers and fans have noted, Jeanne Birdsall's Penderwicks series is the literary descendant of 'Little Women,' 'Anne of Green Gables' and Beverly Cleary's beloved books for children. The four Penderwick sisters, their patient and loving father, their neighbor and adored friend Jeffrey and their dog, Hound, infuse the series with humor, wit and antics galore," Phillips said.

Philip Nel, university distinguished professor of English, values the emotional complexity that Birdsall brings to the family story.

"Jeanne Birdsall understands the emotional intelligence of children. She knows that they feel love, guilt, joy, loss, anger, excitement, jealousy and sadness just as acutely as adults do. Her books offer resilient, thoughtful, funny, fully realized characters," Nel said.

Birdsall's talk is sponsored by the department of English and its program in Children's Literature. More information about Birdsall’s work is available at her website.

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