Author honored with Southern Miss Medallion at children's book festival

Author honored with Southern Miss Medallion at children's book festival

This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi

Children’s literature author Jacqueline Woodson says writing is a way to help her understand the world. And as far as her fans are concerned, the world is better for her writing.  

Woodson was awarded the 49th annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival’s Southern Miss Medallion, the event’s top honor, on April 7 during the three-day event on the Hattiesburg campus. She also served as a keynote speaker for the festival.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to be honored for your work,” Woodson said of being named the medallion recipient.

Her work includes “Miracle’s Boys” and her memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming,” which earned the Coretta Scott King Award and Newberry Medal, respectively. “Brown Girl Dreaming” also made the New York Times bestseller list.  

The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a three-time National Book Award finalist, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

“I’ve always loved writing, creating characters and stories,” she said, also noting that she wants her readers to “feel part of the dialogue” when they read her books.

Woodson said she learned to write by reading, and counts Ezra Jack Keats’ “Snowy Day” and Mildred Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” among the works that inspired her along the way to an award-winning career as an author.

The festival, she said, was a great opportunity for her to be around people who care as much as she does about the genre of children’s literature and impact it has in advancing young minds. “It was exciting to be around so many people that were so passionate not only about children’s literature, but about children and education,” she said.

The Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival is presented by the Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science, which is housed in the University’s College of Education and Psychology. For more information about the festival, visit

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