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2017 WLU Summer Institute

2017 Summer Institute Keynote Speakers - Previous Revision

Thursday Opening Session

H. Gerald Campano

Gerald Campano is Associate Professor and Chair, Reading/Writing/Literacy at the University of PA Graduate School of Education.  He was a full-time classroom teacher in Houston, Puerto Rico, and California and has worked with adult English language learners in North Philadelphia. He has garnered numerous teaching awards at the elementary and university level including a Carnegie Scholar and the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English from NCTE. Throughout his scholarship and teaching, he has been committed to creating opportunities for students to mobilize their identities and rich cultural resources in the elementary literacy curriculum. Dr. Campano‚Äôs recent work has involved collaborating in university-school partnerships that focus on literacy, engagement, and equity. 

Join Gerald on Thursday evening, July 18 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. 


Friday, Opening Session

Chris Soentpiet

Chris Soentpiet creates children's books for all ages. He writes and illustrates his own stories as well as illustrates books by other authors. Chris was born in South Korea and moved with his sister to Hawaii at the age of 8 after being adopted by the Soentpiet family. Studying Fine Arts and Education at Pratt Institute in New York City, his two very special friends encouraged him to pursue his passion for painting by illustrating children's books.

Chris creates books that reflect an interest in people, history, and culture. Since teachers around the world use his books in their classrooms, Chris takes the time to do a lot of research, especially if it's a historical story, spending weeks in the library, and going to the actual location where the story's events happened to sketch and take pictures. A book can take a year or more to complete.  Around Town was his first children's picture book. Other works include Amazing Faces, My Brother Martin, More than Anything Else, Something Beautiful, CootiesThe Last Dragon, Molly BannakyPeacebound Trains. Chris' work has been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, and Newsweek.


Join Chris on Friday morning, July 19 from 8:30-9:45 a.m.


Saturday Opening Session

Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes does not consider herself a bona fide storyteller, but, as she told an audience at the Library of Congress, she is happy to own the title Poet.  Born and raised in New York City, Nikki began composing verse at the age of six and has been writing ever since.

An accomplished and widely anthologized poet of both children's and adult verse, Nikki is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children

A New York Times bestselling author and a prolific artist, she has written many award-winning books for children and young adults. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books). Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Nikki lives in Corona, California.

Visit Nikki's website at

Join Nikki on Saturday morning, July 21 from 8:30-9:45 a.m.


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