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A lifelong dedication to children’s literature

Imagine shelf after shelf lined with children’s books—the bright colors, beautiful illustrations, and uniqueness of each cover. These are books that have been well read, as told by the mountains of books scattered about. These treasured books decorate the office of Terrell Young, the McKay School’s very own book connoisseur. When you step into Young’s office, you step into a children’s book wonderland that tells a story of its own.

Terrell Young

It’s no secret that Young has dedicated his life to his great love of children’s books. He has taught children’s literature classes, attended countless literature conferences, and served on a variety of book award committees. This year will bring new and exciting opportunities as a result of his lifelong commitment to children’s literature.

Young has been involved with the United States Board on Books for Young People for several years and has served as an officer since 2013. Last year he was nominated to serve as the president of the organization. He will hold this position until 2020 and continue to spread the board’s mission of “building bridges of international understanding through children's and young adult books.”

There is a big effort to promote international books among teachers and librarians. “We believe that as children read about people from other countries, they can see how others define themselves. Books often help people realize that people from other countries are humans, and that people have stories and experiences rather than just some stereotype that is spewed on the news,” shared Young.

Terrell Young

Young will also have the opportunity this year to serve on the prestigious Newbery Award Committee. He is well prepared for the role due to his prior involvement with the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Notable Books for a Global Society, Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award, and many more.

For these awards, the books are typically nominated by their individual publishers. The committee members each read the books and then have periodic discussions about the stories. “This is one of the richest experiences I’ve ever had,” Young said. He loves being able to talk with people who enjoy discussing the books they have read.

Young has loved books since he was a child. “I can immerse myself into a story or information, so I can vicariously live someone else’s life for a while, but then when I’m finished, I’ve learned something more about myself at the same time. I think that’s incredibly rich,” shared Young.

Young is a professor in the Teacher Education Department at Brigham Young University. He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University, his master’s degree in elementary education and language arts from Utah State University, and his doctorate in curriculum and instructional science/literacy from Brigham Young University.

Writer: Camilla Rowe

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922