Pat Austin has spent her career promoting quality children’s literature and helping other educators to do the same.
Now the University of New Orleans professor of children’s literature and graduate coordinator in curriculum and instruction has won the International Literacy Association’s Arbuthnot Award, given to members who are deeply engaged in preparing teachers and librarians.
Austin has manifest her love of children's literature in her teaching, her mentorship, and in the Children's Literature Library in the College of Education and Human Development. With more than 20,000 volumes of children's books, the library gives future teachers easy access to the best literature for a wide range of ages and interests.
In addition to her on-campus activities, Austin was instrumental in helping school libraries around the region set-up or reestablish themselves after Hurricane Katrina, helping to arrange donations of books and offering consultations to school librarians.
Austin holds a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College, a master’s of art in teaching in elementary education from University of New Hampshire and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from UNO.
She has authored more than 40 articles in educational journals, hundreds of book reviews and as her own picture book, titled “The Cat Who Loved Mozart.” Austin’s own classroom experience spans two decades, during which she worked with children from second- through eighth-grades in a variety of settings.
Austin is also former editor of the Journal of Children’s Literature. She serves on the Notables Committee for Language Arts and has been a children’s book review columnist for the Louisiana reading journal for 10 years.
Not surprisingly, Austin says one of her all-time favorite activities is reading to children.