LRU News

“The Little Read” Author Will Speak on Campus While her Book is Brought to Life On-Stage

Mon Mar 25 2013

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University will hold its annual “The Little Read” event for youngsters and the community at 12:00pm on Saturday, April 13th in the P.E Monroe Auditorium on campus. This event is free of charge and open to the community.

The 2013 Little Read author is Cynthia Lord. Lord has been active with the LR Visiting Writers Series and the Little Read program since the fall when she was on campus to discuss her book Rules with area 5th grade school teachers and university education majors. These students and teachers worked together throughout the fall semester to develop curricular materials for educators teaching lessons with Rules as the central component. The curricular materials include information specifically for all 5th grade students in Catawba and Alexander Counties.  All participating students have received their own personal copy of the book, thanks to the support of the Little Read sponsors and the local school systems. 

As a children’s novelist and picture-book writer, Lord brightens the literary world with her heartwarming tales. She published her first novel, Rules, in 2006 for a middle-grades audience. This debut novel won the Newbery Honor Medal and the Schneider Family Book Award, among eight other awards nationwide. Rules was nominated for a Kids’ Choice Award in 40 states. Publishers Weekly praises Rules as “appealing [and] entirely convincing. . . . A rewarding story that may well inspire readers to think about others’ points of view.”

Lord published her second children’s novel, Touch Blue, in 2010. Book Page listed it as the Best Children’s Book of 2010 and Bank Street College starred it as the Best Children’s Book of the Year 2011 for its “outstanding merit.”

Lord and New York Times best-selling illustrator, Derek Anderson, have teamed up and written two picture-books together: Hot Rod Hamster (2010), a finalist for the 2011 Children’s Choice Book Award, and Happy Birthday, Hamster (2011), Bank Street College’s 2012 Best Children’s Book of the Year. Kirkus Reviews admires their work: “Newbery Honor author Lord’s picture-book debut is a rollicking, roaring read . . . . Anderson’s fluffy, jaunty illustrations are as full of energy as the rhymes.”

The Little Read is an elementary education community-wide reading initiative of the Lenoir-Rhyne University Visiting Writers Series. Initially implemented during the 2006-07 school year, the Little Read is designed to provide quality literature for classroom use. The program also gives parents and community members meaningful ways to be involved in the educational process. By providing interaction with a nationally recognized children’s author, the Little Read supports and encourages literacy development.

Each year the Little Read Advisory Board, in consultation with Catawba County Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Alexander County Schools, identifies which grade the project will focus on for that year and which book will be used. After spending time throughout the school year reading and understanding the book, the students will come together for the Little Read event on April 13th.

Lenoir-Rhyne professor and LR Visiting Writers Series director, Rand Brandes says, “It is the most important elementary school literacy project in Catawba County and Alexander County not organized by the systems themselves.” According to Brandes, the Series coordinates the program and is responsible for funding. He has been a part of the program since its beginning.

The Little Read is funded by a generous grant from the family of Ron and Sandra Deal in memory of their daughter Sara Catherine Deal Temple who loved children and loved teaching them to read.

Also in conjunction with the Little Read, the Lenoir-Rhyne Playmakers will present a staged production of Rules, April 17-20. Purchased tickets are required for this show.

For more information on “The Little Read” and the Visiting Writers Series, go to or or contact Dr. Rand Brandes at Additional information on the staged production of Rules can be found online at

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