Cuban-American author, storyteller coming to campus
October 31, 2014
Renowned storyteller and children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy will visit campus
Tuesday to talk with students and present “A Night of Storytelling” at 7 p.m. in
Dickson Assembly Room.
Dr. Amanda Plumlee, who coordinates the Latin American Studies and Modern Languages
program, said Deedy encompasses many areas of the college’s focus on global engagement.
“Carmen was born in Havana, Cuba,” Dr. Plumlee said. “She and her family came
to America as refugees in 1964 and settled in Decatur, Georgia. Her successes as
an award-winning author of children’s books and as a professional storyteller also
give her a perspective that our women’s studies students will appreciate.”
Tuesday night’s performance is a cultural enrichment event. Dr. Plumlee said there
has been an effort to make the college’s CE activities as various and engaging
“Carmen does so much more than speak,” she said. “She interacts, she listens and
she tells wonderful stories. Right now my students are studying Cuba and reading
a memoir that was written by a woman who left Cuba about the same time as Carmen’s
family. So there’s that connection, as well.”
The author will be speaking with students in Dr. Gretta Wright’s class on children’s
literature during the day, and then performing in a free evening of storytelling
that is open to the campus and the community.
kidsDeedy has been writing for children for more than two decades. A resident
of Decatur, where she grew up, she has become a favorite storyteller at the annual
Azalea Storytelling Festival held on the LaGrange College campus.
She began writing as a young mother and storyteller. Her NPR commentaries on All
Things Considered were collected and released under the title “Growing Up Cuban
In Decatur, Georgia.” The collection of 12 stories soon garnered awards, among
them a 1995 Publishers Weekly Best Audio (Adult Storytelling) and a 1996 Parents’
Choice Gold Award.
Deedy’s children’s books have won numerous awards. “The Library Dragon” received
various children’s state book awards and has sold almost half a million copies.
In 2003, it was her home state’s choice to represent Georgia at the Library of
Congress’s National Book Festival.
“The Yellow Star” was the recipient of the 2001 Jane Addams Peace Association
Book Award, presented to Deedy at the United Nations by Mrs. Kofi Annan.
It was followed by “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach,” “14 Cows for America” and
“The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale,” all of which have garnered many
state, national and international awards.
Deedy has spent the past 20 years writing and telling stories. She has been an
invited speaker at venues as varied as The American Library Association, Refugees
International, The International Reading Association, Columbia University, The
Smithsonian Institute, TED, The National Book Festival and the Kennedy Center.
A passionate supporter of libraries, she was the 2008 National Spokesperson for
School Library Media Month. Over a span of 20 years, Deedy has told stories to
hundreds of thousands of school children. She said they remain her favorite audiences.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome Carmen to LaGrange College,” said Dr. Plumlee.
“We hope the community will join us Tuesday night for a wonderful storytelling