Betsy Bird at Evanston Public LibraryPhoto from EPL

In January, the Evanston Public Library will kick off the EPL Literary Salon, a monthly gathering that welcomes all enthusiasts of children’s books to discuss and explore a variety of topics on written works for young people.

The Literary Salon is moderated by Betsy Bird, the Library’s Collection Development manager, children’s author, reviewer and specialist in children’s literature. She previously developed a popular series of literary salons focusing on children’s literature in New York City, where she was a Materials Specialist for the New York Public Library.

The first salon, to be held at 3 p.m. on Jan. 9, is “Bringing Books to the Border,” featuring Jeff Garrett of local Evanston independent bookstore, Bookends and Beginnings. Mr. Garrett will discuss the humanitarian crisis in the Rio Grande Valley, where more than 70,000 children have crossed the southern border into the United States – many of them unaccompanied. In August, he helped organize a fact-finding and book-delivering visit to government agencies, churches and other private agencies responding to the crisis. Speaking about his experiences, with photos documenting the journey, he will touch on issues surrounding the border today and what we can learn from those who are working with refugee children.

Future salons include experienced children’s authors, illustrators, online gurus and children’s book promoters.

Feb. 13, 2:30 p.m., “Publishing Children’s Books in the 21st Century,” a discussion on the ins and outs of writing and illustrating for kids, common myths, pitfalls and perks of the job.

March 26, 2 p.m. “Ethics in Non-Fiction for Kids,” learning to draw the line between fact and fancy when trying to make things interesting for kids.

April 30, 1 p.m. “On Beyond Narnia: Death and Theology in Children’s Literature.”

May 7, 2 p.m. “The Art of Enthusiasm,” promoting literature for kids, making the most of online resources, and spreading the culture of book love among readers of every age.

All salons will be held in the community room of the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.