Noted children’s book illustrator to speak at Vanderbilt Peabody 2006 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration; Metro Nashville Head Start director to receive Changing Lives award at event

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—James Ransome, illustrator of more than 50 children’s books, will deliver the Vanderbilt Peabody College 2006 Martin Luther King Lecture Thursday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. His lecture, “A Painterly Palette of My Life,” will take place in the Wyatt Center Rotunda and is free and open to the public.

Peabody College will award its Changing Lives award to Pamela Matthews, director of Head Start for the Metropolitan Action Commission of Nashville, at the event.

Ransome, a past recipient of a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration and an International Board on Books for Young People award, is the illustrator of books that include The Creation, How Animals Saved the People, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, How Many Stars in the Sky?, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and The Old Dog.

The Changing Lives Award, first given in 1997, is intended to recognize an individual or organization in greater Nashville whose work uses an understanding of psychological and educational processes to promote positive human change. The award honors the recipient as a role model and inspiration in shaping personal and professional lives.

“Pamela Matthews has given 22 years to Head Start, both in Nashville and as a consultant assessing performance by programs elsewhere,” Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody, said. “She has consistently championed the cause of young children growing up in poverty.”

Ann Kaiser, professor of special education, noted that Matthews has also “facilitated research efforts, including research at Vanderbilt. She has been an incredible advocate for children and parents in Nashville.”

The inception of the national Head Start program has long been associated with pioneering research conducted at Peabody in the 1950s and 60s by the late Susan Gray and her Peabody colleagues.

Parking is available for $1 per half-hour in spaces 52-170 at the Wesley Place Garage, located on Scarritt Place off of 21st Ave. South.

For a complete listing of events scheduled for the 2006 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture Series at Vanderbilt, visit

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Media contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS