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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature along with Candlewick Press will host writer and poet Nikki Giovanni at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the Tennessee Theatre.

Giovanni will present “On My Journey Now” based on her new book “On My Journey Now: Looking at African American History through Spirituals.” UT’s Love United Gospel Choir also will perform. The event is free to the public and a book signing will follow.

Giovanni was born in Knoxville and is a distinguished poet, author, commentator, activist and educator. She has received accolades for her book “Rosa,” a biography of Rosa Parks, and “The Sun is so Quiet.” Three of her poetry collections have received NAACP Image Awards.

Part of UT’s Hodges Library, the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature was created as a tool for adults who help children learn to read. The Center provides workshops for teachers and librarians and sponsors presentations by authors and illustrators.

Copies of newly-released children’s and young adult literature are placed in the Center and are available for review by teachers, students, librarians and the general public. The Center displays about 2,000 books a year.

While the center is not an open library, it does promote its books into the library circulation.

“Many of the books in the Center collection will be in the library’s circulating collection, especially those in high demand and the major award winning books,” said Ken Wise, associate professor and director of the Center.

The Center brings well-known authors to Knoxville and, as part of their programming, includes opportunities for school children to interact with and learn from the writers. The Center has hosted Lois Lowry, two time Newbery Award winner and author of The Giver; Jacqueline Woodson, 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults; Phillip Hoose, author, songwriter and advocate for land and water animals; Jan Greenberg, author of books on American art and architecture for young people and Jack Gantos, author and illustrator.

The Center is a joint partnership of the UT Libraries, School of Information Sciences, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, Knox County Schools and the Knox County Public Library.

For more information about the Giovanni event or the Center visit the website at or contact Ken Wise at (865)974-2359.


Ken Wise, Director, Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, (865)974-2359 or

Beth Gladden (865) 974-9008 or