World renowned children’s author Jane Yolen spoke at Portland Sate University Thursday, Oct. 11. Yolen was a lecturer as a part of the Graduate School of Education’s Distinguished Educator’s Lecture Series.
Yolen has been nicknamed the contemporary Hans Christian Anderson by Newsweek. She is the author of over 200 stories. Yolen is famous for children’s books, poems, short stories and now a comic book.
Yolen was late for the lecture because of delays at the airport.
While the audience waited for the author to arrive, people took turns reading opening paragraphs or their favorite passages from her books. Students from Portland State, Lewis and Clark and Concordia read from their favorite Yolen books, along with (non-collegiate) mothers, fathers and children
Yolen burst into the auditorium with jokes. She explained for her lateness and appearance.
“Being the good American I put my luggage with my sharp pointy things away and I could not get to my change of clothes,” Yolen said.
The audience listened as Yolen revealed the “secrets” of her stories. She explained how she, her family and her friends are all a part of her books.
“The person in my books the most is me. All my likes, my dislikes, that’s what writers do,” Yolen said.
However, she said that the fact the author is inherently a part of the story should not be overt. The story should fundamentally be about the characters and the story.
Yolen said that the history she writes about in all of her stories is embellished and then formed into the story.
“Its like wrestling with angels. You don’t expect to win, but you come away changed,” Yolen said.
The author was in Portland for the Oregon Council of Teachers of English Languages Arts and Reading Conference.
Yolen has written many award-winning books, such as: “Owl Moon,” “The Emperor and The Kite,” “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” “The Girl Who Loved the Wind” and “Commander Toad in Space.”