Sharon McQueen is a popular speaker and lecturer on children's books and publishing. She has lecturered widely across North America from British Columbia to Connecticut and from Manitoba to Mississippi. She has spoken to groups of academics, librarians, teachers, and students. Prior to embarking upon a career in academe, Dr. McQueen was a professional performer and theater producer. Consequently, her presentations are lively and highly visual. The following presentations are currently available for bookings:
The Story of The Story of Ferdinand
The 1936 picture book, The Story of Ferdinand, was immediately successful and immediately controversial. This reception spread onto a world-wide stage. Hitler’s regime banned the book and it remained banned in Spain until after Franco’s death in 1975. Jella Lepman, founder of the the International Youth Library in Munich, wrote that Ferdinand’s creator “should have won the Nobel Peace prize.” This work is acknowledged as a classic of peace education, has been translated into over 60 languages, and in its 80-year history has never been out of print. Sharon McQueen’s cultural history of The Story of Ferdinand is a rollicking, visual treat that explores Ferdinand’s extraordinary success.
Robert Lawson: Titan of Mid-Twentieth Century Children's Books
Robert Lawson is the only children’s book creator to have been awarded the highest United States honors for both children’s book illustration and children’s writing. In addition to receiving honor book awards in each category, he won the Caldecott Medal for They Were Strong and Good in 1941 and the Newbery Medal for Rabbit Hill in 1945. During a career that spanned four decades, Lawson created over sixty-five books, but The Story of Ferdinand , which he illustrated, remains his best-known and well-loved. Though critical analysis of Lawson's work continues to this day, no substantial biographical work has been undertaken since his death in 1957. In this presentation, Sharon McQueen shares new research for her upcoming biography, the most in-depth ever written on this titan of children's book creation, and brings to light the life and work of a man whose influence is still evident today.
May Massee: Pioneering Editor of Literature for Youth
The years 1919 through 1933 formed a pivotal period in the field of children’s publishing. During that time, multiple publishing houses established separate children’s divisions. Two of these divisions (Doubleday, Page and Company and The Viking Press) were formed by one pioneering woman: May Massee. This presentation explores Massee’s many publishing successes, including such classics as Marjorie Flack’s The Story About Ping, Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, and the Madeline books of Ludwig Bemelmans.
Children's Books That Changed Children's Books:
The History of Children's Books of the Western World in One Hour!
In this highly illustrated romp through time, Sharon McQueen takes you on a whirlwind tour of the children's books that made an indelible mark upon the course of children's book history. From Aesop and the oral storytelling tradition through the Orbis Pictus, Randolph Caldecott, the Golden Age, Louisa May Alcott, Maurice Sendak, Hugo Cabret, and more, Dr. McQueen explains "how we got to now." This presentation is an informative and fun visual treat!
Picture Books for Older Children & Teens
The picture book has seen an influx of innovation during the past few decades. Within a few short years traditional boundaries have not merely blurred but have exploded in multiple directions. The sophistication now evident in many picture books (in writing, illustration, and format) makes their use ideal for older readers. Sharon McQueen provides a brief overview of the picture books for older readers genre. From there she explores exciting new titles and takes a fresh look at those that have already become favorites. An extensive bibliography will be provided and many books will be made available for perusal following the presentation.
Speaking engagements include the following:
Children's Literature Conferences
United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)
Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival (The University of Southern Mississippi)
The Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature (Westport, Connecticut)
The McConnell Youth Literature Conference (University of Kentucky)
UW-Madison College of Letters and Science Biennial Children's Literature Conference
Libraries & Library Conferences
American Library Association (ALA)
The Cora Paul Bomar Community Matters Summit (The University of North Carolina-Greensboro)
Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore
Guilford County Schools (North Carolina)
IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Library History Special Interest Group
Maryland Library Association
Multnomah County Library (Oregon)
Northeast Texas Library System
Virginia Association of School Librarians
Wisconsin Library Association
Children's Literature Association (ChLA)
Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY)
Reception Study Society (RSS)
Association for Library and Information Science (ALISE)
Center for the History of Print & Digital Culture
Library Research Seminar, ALA Library Research Round Table (LRRT)
Library History Seminar, ALA Library History Round Table (LHRT)
American Association of University Women