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Newberry Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly to speak at Jolita Hylland Benson Education Lecture

Newberry Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly to speak at Jolita Hylland Benson Education Lecture

Posted by:
March 10, 2022
By Veronica Craker
PLU Marketing and Communications

Pacific Lutheran University’s 12th Annual Jolita Hylland Benson Education Lecture will take place April 20 at 7 p.m. Erin Entrada Kelly, a Newberry Medalist and New York Times best-selling author, will deliver this year’s Benson lecture titled, Three Compliments: Ways to Feel Seen as an Invisible Student. A Q&A session and book signing will follow her lecture.

“Erin’s lecture speaks to the fundamental need of being seen, a necessary topic at a critical time,” said Wendy Gardiner, Ph.D., PLU’s Jollita Hyland Benson Endowed Chair in Elementary Education. “Less than 7 percent of children’s books published in recent years were written by authors of color. This is another area of invisibility that Erin’s work addresses–creating vivid characters, writing about  friendship, family, adventure, bravery, and finding your voice.”

Entrada Kelly has been honored numerous times for her work, including the 2021 Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space, the 2018 Newbery Medal for Hello Universe, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for The Land of Forgotten Girls. Her newest book, Those Kids from Fawn Creek, will be released in March 2022. Netflix acquired Hello Universe. Her work is globally celebrated and has been translated into several languages. 

Entrada Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and liberal arts from McNeese State University and an MFA from Rosemont College. She lives in Delaware. She teaches in the MFA programs at Hamline University and Rosemont College and teaches fiction with Gotham Writers Workshop.

Since the first Jolita Hylland Benson Education Lecture in 2011, the series has encouraged the thoughtful exploration of education in its various capacities. The series is named in honor of PLU alumna Jolita Benson, who graduated from the School of Education in 1963, dedicating her life to educating children. 

The lecture is free and open to the public. To register, visit