Students lend a hand at just the right moment

YLF graphic design students

Alex Aguillon, Nora Guerrero, and Camille Ruiz-Funes at their Community Day Celebration display

Three Illinois students in graphic designAlex Aguillon, Nora Guerrero, and Camille Ruiz-Funesassisted the College of Education greatly by creating two additional Youth Literature Festival posters just days before the event took place.

Coincidentally, the trio had approached festival organizers to see how they could help with YLF on the very day it was discovered that the new posters were needed.

“We owe a big thank you to these outstanding University of Illinois students,” said YLF Director Linda Tammen.

Here is more info on these talented students:

Alex Aguillon is a transfer student who was drawn to graphic design because it allows him to express creative elements in a medium that fits him best. He said designing allows him to be a thinker and maker for people who want to put themselves out there with a fresh, innovative look.

Nora Guerrero is a sophomore who enjoys the problem solving, creativity, design, and communication that is involved in the graphic arts. She wants to help others through visual design.

Camille Ruiz-Funes is a sophomore who chose her major because she was interested in combining computer science with art, brand identity, advertising, and user experience.

Alumna a strong supporter of YLF, local organizations

Carol Scharlau - YLF site

Carol Scharlau ’66 Ed., Ed.M. ’68 ED, is a huge supporter of the Youth Literature Festival because of its significance in children’s lives. As a leader in the Champaign-Urbana community who is truly engaged, she understands the importance of helping children connect with books and authors in meaningful ways.

Scharlau was the recipient of the 2016 National Philanthropy Day Award and the 2008 Champaign County Most Valuable Citizen. She has been a driving force behind every YLF since it started in 2008.

Scharlau’s additional service awards are numerous. She has a strong commitment to Champaign-Urbana and has volunteered with local organizations such as the Junior League, Kiwanis, and many others.

Following experiences she enjoyed greatly while teaching kindergarten at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign and at the College of Education at Illinois, Scharlau spent 25 years at the United Way of Champaign County, serving in multiple capacities.

Scharlau regularly generates support and enthusiasm for activities that are beneficial to C-U. She thrives on building volunteer leadership teams and engaging volunteers, with the goal of building for the future of the community.

Literacy fund will positively impact thousands of lives

Glenna Udre

As a humble and generous Illinois alumna from 1935, Glenna Udre did not fathom that her endowment to the College of Education’s Youth Literature Festival would impact the lives of thousands of children—but it will.

The Endowment for Literacy Fund at the College of Education was established by Udre to further public service in literacy and reading education, as well as to generate initiatives and programs pertaining to literacy. Thanks to Udre’s fund, numerous students in 17 school districts across seven counties in East Central Illinois will be able to interact with and learn from talented and influential children’s authors and illustrators during the 2016 Youth Literature Festival.

Udre was born within a prosperous farming family in Payson, Illinois, and was the youngest of seven children. She and her twin brother, Glenn, were born with polio and faced physical challenges early on, yet they had a determined and resolute spirit, according to family members.

IMG_0558Glenna Udre passed away on March 27, 2013, shortly before turning 100 years old. Along with her YLF endowment, she also endowed a Chair in Early Childhood Education fund in honor of her family.

Following Udre’s death, Linda Tammen, the program coordinator of the Youth Literature Festival, visited the alumna’s burial site in Troy, Missouri, to pay her respects.

“I did it to deliver a special thank you to Glenna on behalf of our college, on behalf of all Youth Literature Festival organizers, and on behalf of all of the children and young adults whose lives will be greatly impacted by the 2016 festival,” Tammen said.

A special ambassador

Phyllis and Kyle RobesonPhyllis and Kyle Robeson
Photo by Heather Coit of The News-Gazette

The College of Education would like to thank Champaign resident Phyllis Robeson, Ed.M. '58 Ed., for her solid commitment as an ambassador of the Youth Literature Festival. Phyllis takes the YLF theme, “Literature at the Heart of Our Lives,” to heart. As a former teacher and a mother of two (Eric and Kim), she understands the importance of YLF as an avenue for young people to establish meaningful connections with well-known authors and their books, with the goal of making reading a permanent part of kids’ lives.


Learn more about the impact that Phyllis and her husband, Kyle, have had within Champaign-Urbana beyond YLF.

Youth Literature Festival in 2016

Youth Literature Festival in 2016

The biennial Youth Literature Festival in October will feature more than 20 authors and illustrators of children’s books. These talented individuals will build excitement about reading by visiting more than 20,000 students in 17 school districts across seven counties in East Central Illinois. With more than half of the schoolchildren in Illinois now qualifying as low income, these interactions are of particular significance in the education and lives of the young students in our extended community. YLF will reach schools in Danville and Arcola for the first time, and author visits will take place at Onarga Academy. Additionally, this year marks the first time that festival organizers secured book donations to schools through publishers. As of June nearly $20,000 worth of books were donated to participating schools.

Inspiring a Generation of Readers

Alice McGinty

Multitalented children's author Alice B. McGinty never thought of herself as a writer when she was younger, though she loved reading books. These days, McGinty is an award-winning author of more than 40 books for children. She’ll be joining numerous other talented authors and illustrators of children’s books at the Oct. 20-22 Youth Literature Festival. Discover more about McGinty, who was featured in At Home in Central Illinois.

Big Thanks to Farmers-Merchants National Bank in Paxton

Farmers-Merchants National Bank

Farmers-Merchants National Bank in Paxton was kind enough to provide a generous pledge of support to the Youth Literature Festival, with bank president Tom McCabe also offering excellent advice. Mr. McCabe was eager to find a way to get more YLF authors’ books into the schools they visit and into the hands of the children at those schools. Since YLF authors have written a combined total of more than 100 books and have almost that many varied publishers, he suggested we reach out to all of those publishing companies and their imprints to see if they might consider donating sets of books for school libraries. Festival director Linda Tammen is in the process of working through the list of publishers. In the meantime, we have already received donations of more than $12,000 worth of books to share with the schools that the YLF authors will be visiting in October. View all the YLF sponsors participating this year.