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Home Arts & Culture Concordia expects at least 2,700 students at 2023 Plum Creek Literacy Festival

Hope Nelson

Sower Staff


Concordia University, Nebraska expects to welcome more than 2,700 school-age children to campus on Oct. 6 as part of its annual Plum Creek Literacy Festival.

The festival, which was founded in 1996, seeks to instill a love of reading in both students and adults.

“A common thread of a love to read, write, create, and follow your dreams brings everyone together,” said Festival Director Dr. Dylan Teut.

The festival’s first event, a book pre-sale, will be held on Wednesday at CUNE. A total of 18 authors’ books, written across many genres and reading levels, will be available for purchase. The selection of authors includes Eric Velasquez, a Coretta Scott King award winner; Cozbi A. Cabrera, a Caldecott honoree; and Carole Boston Weatherford, a Coretta Scott King honoree. Deborah Wiles, author and National Book Award finalist, will give a keynote speech at a Saturday, Oct. 7 adult luncheon.

On Oct. 5, students from Concordia’s education program will host a festival for children from Nelson Mandela Elementary School and four other Omaha-area elementary schools. The event will allow hundreds of children to interact with two author-illustrators, along with Concordia students.

Concordia will host the festival itself on campus on Oct. 6, with a day full of activities and presentations for area children, followed by a day of adult workshops and keynote speakers on Oct. 7. Children of all educational backgrounds – including public, private, parochial, and homeschool settings – are expected to attend the festival.

“I am amazed how an event focused around books and their creators brings together so many people of different backgrounds,” said Teut. “The festival will not only connect authors and illustrators from around the country, but children from all schools.”

Even Concordia students look forward to the event.

“I liked reading a lot when I was a kid, and I still do, so it’s nice to see opportunities for working to inspire a love of reading in children, especially outside of school,” said sophomore Adah Pflughoeft.

As part of the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, Concordia’s Marxhausen Gallery, located in Jesse Hall, will hold an exhibit entitled “Guardian of Childhood: The Art of William Joyce” through Oct. 7. The gallery is open to the public, with free admission.

A lot of work goes into making the Plum Creek Festival an enjoyable experience for participants of all ages.

“Our outstanding volunteers and Concordia University faculty and staff come together to make [the festival] a seamless experience for all involved,” said Teut.

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