Meet Pablo Cartaya: 11th Annual Butler Lecture Speaker

Have you registered for the March 23rd Butler Lecture yet? What are you waiting for? Find out more.

Now that you’re in, it’s time to get to know this year’s speaker.

Pablo Cartaya is an internationally acclaimed author, screenwriter, speaker, and educator. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, and on Oprah’s Booklist. He has received multiple starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Audiofile Magazine for his novels and audiobook narrations. Pablo has worked with Disney, Apple+, and Sesame Street on projects adapted from television series and features. His novels have been published by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Disney Publishing Worldwide.

In 2021, Pablo served as a judge for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, selecting a longlist, shortlist, and winner for the nation’s most prestigious literary award. Over the past decade, Pablo has facilitated approximately over one hundred and fifty writing workshops and lectures. Most have taken place at colleges, universities, libraries, and a variety of community organizations, and K-12 schools throughout the U.S., and in countries across the globe including Sweden, Canada, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Additionally, Pablo served as director of literary arts programming and community engagement at the prestigious four-star, four-diamond boutique hotel, The Betsy-South Beach. During his tenure he led the first literary festival celebrating and highlighting Latinx authors and creators; created the first hybrid literary and visual arts program for Art Basel Miami at The Betsy; helped secure seed funding and performance spaces for the first TransArt Festival in Miami, FL; created the first Writers for Young Readers authors program in Miami, FL; and received a grant for The Betsy Writer’s Room, a dedicated space in the luxury hotel to host writers and creators gratis for up to four days of residency. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of over twenty creative arts initiatives and over four hundred residencies for writers and creatives.

Most recent novels include: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, Each Tiny Spark, the climate dystopia The Last Beekeeper, and the collection of essays Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers. Pablo’s writing has been a featured in VOICES, a National Council of Teachers of English periodical, the literary magazine, Miami Rail; the Spanish language editorial, Suburbano Ediciones; as a translator for the poetry chapbook, Cinco Poemas/Five Poems based on the work of the poet Hyam Plutzik; and several award-winning podcasts. Notable Awards and Honors include: 2020 Schneider Family Book Award Honor, 2019 ALSC Notable Book, 2018 American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Honor, 2018 Audie Award Finalist, and 2018 E.B. White Read Aloud Book Award Finalist as well as being on over forty state book award lists. Since 2016, he has served as Lead Faculty for the Writing for Children and Young Adult track at Sierra Nevada University’s MFA (now part of the University of Nevada-Reno) Creative Writing program. 

Where to find Pablo:

His website is full of book info, photos, tools for teachers and librarians, and some fantastic FAQ info.

Publisher sites are full of funny and informative interviews. Check out a few favorites:

Authors Unbound–Pablo Cartaya

Scholastic–Pablo Cartaya

And, of course, his books are available all over the place. Might I recommend some favorite independent book sellers?

The Book Cellar in Chicago (many thanks to them for hosting the lecture night book sale!), The Book Table in Oak Park, Books and Books in the Miami area (Pablo’s favorite), or Sundog Books in Seaside, FL (my favorite vacation book spot).

Full Lecture Details:

11th Annual Butler Lecture featuring Pablo Cartaya
March 23, 2023
6:00 p.m.
Free with registration required
Martin Recital Hall– Dominican University Fine Arts Building, 7900 W. Division St. River Forest, IL 60305
Online (link will be sent to online registrations the day of the event)
A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! These include It Starts With a Bee by Aimee Gallagher. A poetic look into the world of bees. The colorful illustrations by Jennie Webber show the journey bees take to help the flowers you love, and the fruits and vegetables you eat, grow.  Check it out along with the other titles below!

Blue Badger
Written by Huw Lewis Jones and Illustrated by Ben Sanders
Published by Happy Yak
Available Now!

Don’t Call me a Hurricane
Written by Ellen Hagan
Published by Bloomsbury
Available July 19th, 2022

It Starts With a Bee
Written by Aimee Gallagher and Illustrated by Jennie Webber
Published by QED Publishing
Available April 5th, 2022

The Loophole
Written by Naz Kutub
Published by Bloomsbury
Available June 21st, 2022

A Taste of Magic
Written by J. Elle
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s books
Available August 30th, 2022

You Are Not Alone
Written by The Alphabet Rockers and Illustrated by Ashley Evans
Published by Sourcebook eXplore
Available now!

2021 Follett-Butler Lecture

Dominican University’s School of Information Studies and Butler Children’s Literature Center present: 

Fantastic Black Girlhoods:
A Conversation with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Renée Watson

Join the School of Information Studies and the Butler Children’s Literature Center in conversation with children’s literature scholar and critic Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and award-winning author Renée Watson as they discuss the current moment in literature for black youth and how it fits into the larger body of youth literature. Topics explored include the adultification of black youth, representations of black joy, and diversity within diversity. They will also share their hopes and recommendations for the teachers and librarians sharing books with, and building collections for, all young people.

Monday, March 29, 2021 — 6p.m.
Presented Online
Registration opens in February

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas studies how people of color are portrayed, or not portrayed, in children’s and young adult literature, and how those portrayals shape our culture. She regularly reviews children’s books featuring diverse heroes and heroines, teens and tweens caught between cultures, and kids from the margins for the Los Angeles Times. She has a particular interest in young adult fantasy literature and fan culture. A former English and language arts teacher, Thomas also explores how teachers handle traumatic historical events, such as slavery, when teaching literature. Her most recent academic book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games (NYU Press, Spring 2019).

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her poetry and fiction often centers around the lived experiences of black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renée served as Founder and Executive Director of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, from 2016-2019.

Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently lives in New York City.

* Renée Watson photo credit: Shawnte Sims

Bryan Collier–Save the Date!

bryan collier








Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Eloise Martin Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building
Reception and book signing will follow the lecture

Bryan Collier is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (2001), Rosa (2005), Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (2010), and Trombone Shorty (2015), as well as many other awards including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Known for his unique style of combining watercolor and detailed collage, Collier’s work is instantly recognizable and visually stunning. Collier has said that one of the biggest reasons for wanting to become a part of children’s books was because of an experience he had at a bookstore in 1995 where he noticed that none of the books he looked, sounded, or felt like him or his children. Collier’s newest titles set to be released this year are By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, The Father of Gospel Music (January 2020), and All Because You Matter (October 2020).

Registration for the Butler Lecture with Bryan Collier has closed. Contact the Butler Center at to be added to the waitlist for the event.

If you would like to learn more about this brilliant illustrator and his work before the lecture, please feel free to follow the links provided below:

Bryan Collier Website

School Library Journal: The Power of Pictures: A Visit With Bryan Collier

Behind the Scenes of Between the Lines

Book Chat with the Illustrator: Bryan Collier on Hey Black Child

Kennedy Center: A Conversation with Illustrator Bryan Collier start video at 0:32 second mark to skip the intro music.

Reading Rockets: A video with Bryan Collier, Process for “Rosa”

Library of Congress: Bryan Collier, 2014 National Book Festival start video at 2:55 minute mark to skip opening introductions

Iowa Public Library: Visiting Author 2018: Bryan Collier start video at 0:10 second mark to skip intro music

2018 Butler Lecture – Registration Now Open!

The Butler Children’s Literature Center is excited to welcome Andrea Davis Pinkney as our 2018 Butler Lecturer.


Andrea Davis Pinkney is a children’s book editor and New York Times-bestselling author with a number of award-winning books to her name, including Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (2012) for which she received the Coretta Scott King Author Award; picture-book biographies of major figures such as Duke Ellington(1998), Ella Fitzgerald (2002), and Alan Ailey (1995); and Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (2010), which won the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Many of her books are illustrated by her husband Brian Pinkney, who is also an award-winning children’s book creator in his own right. Their upcoming book together, Martin Rising: Requiem for a King, features Andrea’s poetic requiem accompanied by Brian’s lyrical and colorful artwork, will be published in January 2018.

The Butler Lecture is free and open to the public, with registration. For more information and to register, click here.

LeUyen Pham to deliver the Butler Lecture!


Award-winning and best-selling author/illustrator/graphic novelist LeUyen Pham will deliver her lecture “Wandering Wonderland: An Immigrant’s Story Told Through Books,” on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Pham’s work includes a delightful variety of picture books, from the Orbis Pictus honor The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman and the Freckleface Strawberry books by Julianne Moore to her own stories Big Sister, Little Sister and A Piece of Cake; illustrations for the New York Times best-seller The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale and the Scott O’Dell Award winner Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill; and a range of graphic novels with Jordan Mechner and Alex Puvilland, including Prince of Persia, Solomon’s Thieves, and Templar. For this, the third annual Butler Lecture, Pham is literally “drawing” on her own childhood, producing a series of comic panels that explore her earliest experiences with particular books for children.

The lecture will take place at 6 p.m., followed by a reception with refreshments and a book sale and signing; it is free and open to the public, though registration is required. This an evening not to be missed.

To register, please visit:

For more information, please contact me at

The Butler Lecture is generously underwritten by the Butler Family Foundation.