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2008.10.06 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Storytellers, Illustrators Join Omaha Lecture Series on Literacy

Omaha - The Omaha Family Literacy Partnership, organized by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Education, will welcome the Del and Lou Ann Weber Centennial Lecture Series, with literacy events kicking off Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Strauss Performing Arts Center.

At 4:30 p.m., “Beads on One String: A Celebration of Culture and Tradition Through Music and Story,” will feature Folk/Americana singer Dennis Warner. Warner will be joined by three storytellers at this event, all from Omaha: Rita Paskowitz, Idu Maduli and Sheila Rocha. The program will repeat itself at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Twelve performances by the entertainers in the “Beads on One String” presentation will also be performed at local schools, in celebration of UNO’s Centennial.

In the afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 18, Warner and the three storytellers will host individual presentations at Omaha Public Library branches throughout Omaha: Paskowitz will present stories from Judaic tradition; Maduli will present stories from the African tradition; and Rocha will present stories from the indigenous tradition.

The Omaha Public Libraries schedule for Saturday, Oct. 18 is as follows:

- Warner will sing at 2:30 p.m. at the Benson Branch.

- Maduli will speak at 1 p.m. at the Charles B. Washington Branch; at 2:30 p.m. at the A.V. Sorensen Branch; and at 4 p.m. at the Milton R. Abrahams Branch.

- Rocha will speak at 1 p.m. at the Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch; at 3 p.m. at the Willa Cather Branch; and at 4 p.m. at the South Omaha Library.

- Paskowitz will speak at 1 p.m. at the W. Dale Clark Library; at 2:30 p.m. at the W. Clarke Swanson Branch; and at 4 p.m. at the Millard Branch.

In November, David Diaz will visit Omaha. His illustrations from children’s books will be on exhibit in the Minds Eye Gallery at the Joslyn Art Museum, and all the Omaha Public Schools Dual Language students will hear Diaz speak about his work, create their own illustrations in accordance with Diaz’s style, and view the Diego Rivera exhibit that spans three exhibit rooms at the Joslyn Art Museum.

El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St., will host Diaz at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Diaz is widely known for his illustrations in children’s books. Diaz will also speak at the Thompson Alumni Center on the UNO campus.

Diaz will join Paskowitz at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St., for a visit with the public and autographing session on Saturday, Nov 22.

“The goal of this lecture series is to promote reading among families with young children through community events,” said M. Susan McWilliams, event organizer and College of Education assistant professor.

All activities are free and open to the public.

Events in March of next year will include a presentation by Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator of several award-winning children’s books at the Thompson Alumni Center at UNO. He will also speak at the Love’s Jazz and Arts Center and the Council Bluffs Public Library. While in Omaha Pinkney will also conduct several presentations at schools in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

The Del and Lou Ann Weber Centennial Lecture Series comes to a close in September 2009 with author and illustrator team Chris and Yin Soentpiet visiting Omaha to present a lecture at UNO’s Thompson Alumni Center. The duo will also visit public schools in Omaha and Council Bluffs, and offer a presentation and autographing session to the Omaha Public Library and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

Community partners include the Omaha Public Library, Henry Doorly Zoo, El Museo Latino, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Children’s Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, Durham Western Heritage Museum, Council Bluffs Public Library, and Union Pacific Museum. Sponsors include Nebraska Humanities Council, Nebraska Arts Council, UNO College of Education, the Del and Lou Ann Weber Lecture Series, the UNO Service Learning Academy, and Lakeshore Learning Materials. Visit http://coe.unomaha.edu/oflp/ for more information.

* *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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