Origins

Nancy Johnson
Nancy Johnson

During her 25 years at Western, Dr. Johnson has been a superlative educator, preparing elementary and secondary Language Arts teachers who have gone on to distinguished careers all over the region. A nationally and internationally renowned expert in children’s and young adult literature, she shares her passion for the field across disciplines, inspiring educators and youth. Dr. Johnson has also been the driving force behind WWU’s Children’s Literature Conference, the premiere event of its kind in the country.

“About 20 years ago I had this dream. I felt very lucky to be in a role where I attended conferences and had all this wonderful interaction with authors and ideas, and had opportunities to hear speakers and learn things. I felt sad that most of our local community didn’t have that chance.

I built a team, get funding, secure a host site at WWU, and present three speakers. The first year drew 120 attendees. The Conference has grown every year. The second year, we expanded to four speakers. Now, what is a nationally recognized conference has a regular attendance of over 600 attendees. The aim is to bring authors and illustrators that are known, and also not as well-known to provide diverse voices for our audience of educators, librarians, writers, artists and booklovers.”

The Annual WWU Children’s Literature Conference continues under the direction of the Advisory Board. The Board is eager to organize the Conference for many years to come!

“Find Inspiration in the Midst of Big Imaginations and Big Hearts at the Annual WWU Children’s Literature Conference.” Amy Anderson Guerra. WhatcomTALK, February, 2020.
https://www.whatcomtalk.com/2020/02/07/find-inspiration-in-the-midst-of-big-imaginations-and-big-hearts-at-annual-wwu-childrens-literature-conference/