This year we are really looking forward to expanding the Authors in the Schools program. On the Friday before the festival, April 20, we'll be bringing a team of wonderful writers into the Columbia Public Schools to speak to students. It's our hope that children in every grade from K through 12 will get to meet and listen to an author. Part of our mission is to encourage a love of reading in all ages, and giving kids such an opportunity is one of the best ways of achieving this.
One of the writers we're most excited about welcoming to Columbia is Clare Vanderpool. A resident of Wichita, Kansas, Clare is the award-winning author of two novels: Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early.
Moon Over Manifest, Clare's debut novel, was awarded the prestigious 2011 John Newbery Award which is awarded annually by the American Library Association to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Clare is the first debut author in thirty years to win the Newbery Medal. Her books have both hit the New York Times best seller list as well as the Book Sense best seller list. The recipient of much critical-acclaim, including seven starred reviews, a top ten Historical Fiction Kid’s Book by Instructor Magazine, a Junior Library Guild selection, and a Golden Spur award, Clare’s writing has connected with readers young and old. Interviews with Clare have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and almost all of the media outlets across the nation have covered her writing career. Most recently, Clare’s second novel Navigating Early was named a Printz Honor Book for Young Adult Fiction by the American Library Association.
In her early years of writing, Clare set out to write a historical novel set in the fictional town of Manifest, Kansas, which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac where her maternal grandparents lived. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her unforgettable novel, Moon Over Manifest. She says “having lived most of my life in the same neighborhood, place is very important and for me true places are rooted in the familiar—the neighborhood pool, the sledding hill, the shortcuts, all the places where memories abound. But I wondered, what would a ‘true place’ be for someone who has never lived anywhere for more than a few weeks or months at a time? Someone like a young girl on the road during the Depression. Someone like Abilene Tucker.”
Clare has been making appearances at schools, libraries, and conferences around the country and abroad. She enjoys meeting children, educators, librarians, and parents who have embraced her and her writing. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband and four children.