The Butler Lecture is generously supported by the Butler Family Foundation. The Butler Lectures showcase award-winning creators of books for young people and academic experts who speak on issues related to children's literature and the joy of reading and lifelong learning.

About the Butler Center

Established in 2009, the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University is administered by the School of Information Studies and is supported by the Butler Family Foundation. The Center houses an examination collection of newly published books for children and teens, and two historical collections of note: The Effie Lee Morris Collection of African American Books and the Ellin Greene Storytelling Collection.

Upcoming Event

Follett-Butler Lecture

Monday, March 29, 2021, 6:00 p.m.
Presented Online
Registration opens February 1, 2021

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

This event will be presented online. A link to the event will be sent to you the day of the event, March 29, 2021.

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.

Past Lectures

  • 2020: Bryan Collier presented "You Can Never Outgrow a Picture Book" on March 4, 2020
  • 2019: Carmen Agra Deedy presented "The End of the Story" on March 20, 2019
  • 2018: Andrea Davis Pinkney presented "Behold the Road! The Writer’s Passage, the Reader’s Journey" on March 14, 2018
  • 2017: Holly Black presented "Why Magic?" on March 16, 2017
  • 2016: Christian Robinson presented "You Are Here: Finding Yourself in Picture Books" on March 16, 2016
  • 2015:  LeUyen Pham presented "Wandering Wonderland: An Immigrant's Story Told Through Books" on March 5, 2015
  • 2014: Jane Yolen presented "Folklore vs. Fakelore: The Truth about Folk, Fairy, and Fantasy Stories" on February  26, 2014
  • 2013: Inaugural Butler Lecturer Ed Young presented "The House Baba Built" on on February 22, 2013