Authors Esther Harder '03 and Professor Vi Dutcher will talk about their children's books during an April 11 panel on children's literature for challenging times. (Courtesy photos)

Writers Read panel to discuss ‘Children’s Literature for Challenging Times’

Eastern Mennonite University hosts a panel on “Empowering Children’s Literature for Challenging Times” Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. The panel will include authors and educators who have conducted research on the power of books to help children deal with emotional needs and stresses.

Children are most welcome to attend, the organizers add!

Vi Dutcher, author of The Red Pop Beads, and Esther Harder ’03, author of Quarantine Kids, will read from their newly released books. 

The readings will be followed by conversation with 

  • Barbara Wheatley, professor of education at EMU; 
  • her research collaborator Jennifer Whorrall Turner MA ’11 (education), an instructional coach with Staunton City Schools; 
  • Charlotte Wenger Boudreau ‘11, literary agent; and 
  • Maren Hange, illustrator of The Red Pop Beads

Members of the public can view the free livestream by registering for the webinar or viewing on Facebook Live from our EMU Facebook page. (You do not need a Facebook account or page to access Facebook Live, nor does clicking on the link obligate you in any way to Facebook.) 

More on the panelists

Charlotte Wenger Boudreau is an agent for Prospect Agency. She represents authors and illustrators of children’s books, board books through young adult, but especially picture books, as well as select authors of adult nonfiction memoirs/biographies. 

Vi Dutcher is a professor of rhetoric and composition and is the director of the writing program and academic success center at EMU. She holds a PhD from Kent State University in English with a concentration Rhetoric & Composition. Prior to coming to EMU, she taught writing and women’s studies courses at Kent State University, Stark Campus. She has also taught at The University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College. She enjoys linking her courses to community partnerships where students produce a deliverable product for a specified need in an organization. Her research interests are community literacy practices in general and Old Order Amish women’s literacy practices in particular.

Maren Hange is an illustrator, artist and pastor. 

Esther Harder is a 2003 graduate of EMU’s English Education program and holds an MFA from Chatham University’s Children’s Writing program. Esther has been a soccer coach, computer literacy specialist, assistant librarian for children’s programming, English department head, and currently serves as a managing editor for eDynamic Learning, an online curriculum development company. Her favorite responsibility at the moment is reading and exploring with her toddler son.

Jennifer Whorrall Turner completed her EdD in curriculum and instruction with a focus on reading education at the University of Virginia. She  is a middle school instructional coach, and has served as a literacy coach and reading specialist, English teacher, and Social Studies teacher over the past 16 years in various K-12 settings in Virginia.

Barbara Wheatley is an assistant professor in the teacher education program at EMU and a former elementary school teacher, reading specialist, and librarian with a passion for strengthening literacy in students.