Thursday, January 27, 2005

Coleen Salley · Bill Morris · Literacy Foundation

"To promote an appreciation and love of books and reading by providing the enriching experience of meeting and hearing authors and illustrators of children's books."

--Mission Statement of the Coleen Salley · Bill Morris · Literacy Foundation

Coleen Salley continues to spread the love of reading amongst school age children and support children's books authors and illustrators in Louisiana and beyond with the launch of the Coleen Salley-Bill Morris Literacy Foundation.

The Foundation is the brainchild of the Children's Literature community of New Orleans-authors, artists, teachers, librarians, booksellers and lovers of children's books. The idea of the Foundation is to recognize Coleen Salley and her forty-plus years of promoting children's books and their authors and illustrators in Louisiana, nationally and internationally. Mrs. Salley is Professor Emerita, renowned children's literature expert and the author of three children's books: Who's That Tripping Over My Bridge?, illustrated by Amy Dixon (Pelican Publishing) as well as Epossumondas and Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail, both illustrated by Janet Stevens (Harcourt). The Foundation also honors the memory of Bill Morris, one of the pioneers in advocating author and artist visitation to schools and libraries.

"Coleen Salley and Bill Morris are the guardian angels and patron saints of children's literature," says William Joyce, author, illustrator and filmmaker. "They've given their formidable wit, intellect and big, generous hearts to this often overlooked world. They've made sure that children's literature mattered not just to kids but also to grownups. By their efforts, they have changed countless lives."

The non-profit Foundation will target educational groups serving underserved children. Goals and objectives include providing the enriching experience of author visits to schools and the means to purchase books written by the visiting author for the children as well as the school library. The Foundation also will focus on providing opportunities for growth to upcoming authors and artists of children's books as well as assisting in the promotion of these authors. Eligible groups may apply for grants.

My Thoughts

I had the great honor of knowing Bill Morris through HarperCollins. I so clearly remember his graciousness and good humor, his tremendous appreciation of the children's literature community, and how he in many ways symbolized old-school Harper. I miss him, and he continues to inspire me.

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