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Center for Teaching Through Children's Books

Dedicated to excellence in teaching with quality literature for children and adolescents

Center for Teaching Through Children's Books


Junko Yokota, Ph.D.

Yokota-Pic_1 Junko Yokota, Ph.D. is the Director of the CTCB and a Professor Emeritus of Reading & Language at National Louis University. She was an elementary classroom teacher and school librarian for the first ten years of her career. In her professional roles, she has served as a consultant to numerous school districts, guiding curriculum development and providing professional development for teachers.

Dr. Yokota is frequently invited to speak at various professional conferences throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her topics center on issues of multicultural and international literature, literacy development of students of diversity, and improving literacy instruction through quality literature. her publications include a co-authored college textbook in children's literature, Children's Books in Children's Hands, two columns that review children's books, as well as journal articles and book chapters in edited books.

She is past president of the U.S. national section of the International Board on Books for Young People, and has served on numerous committees of the International reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. She has served on the Caldecott and Newbery Award committees, chaired the Batchelder Award committee, and served two terms on the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award for Contribution to Multicultural Literature, Reading the World Award and is an active participant in the international literature community.

Toby Rajput, NBCT


Toby Rajput currently teaches in the School Library strand of the Reading & Language program at National Louis University. She is also the Children's and Youth Literature Librarian for the University and for the CTCB. She has presented at conferences, in classes, and for colleagues on reading motivation, nurturing engaged readers and evaluating children's books for racism and bias. 


Annie Miller

Annie Miller, CTCB project manager

Annie Miller is Project Manager at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books, as well as a Booklist Books for Youth Freelance Reviewer for the American Library Association. In the past, Annie has worked at the Scholastic Reading Club (formerly known as Book Clubs) in both the Creative Services and Strategic Marketing divisions.


Sue Conolly

Sue Conolly, CTCB international book collection manager

Sue Conolly had lived half her life in her native Australia and half in Japan with her bicultural family when her family was transferred to Illinois in 2012. With a love of all things multilingual and multicultural, she is currently working on a Masters in Education (Teacher-Librarian) through Queensland University of Technology. Sue manages the international picture book collection maintained at CTCB, and is developing ways in which the collection will be of most relevance for educators and researchers.

Jana McNally

CTCB Jana McNally, Website Manager

Jana McNally is Website Manager at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books and a graduate student in the Reading and Language Doctoral Program at National Louis University. She has taught middle school language arts for the past 9 years and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Elmhurst College and North Central College. She is an avid reader of children’s and adolescent literature and is continually striving to create a community of motivated and passionate readers in her classroom.

Katie Wooten

Katie Wooten currently teaches high school English at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is also the general secretary for The United States Board on Books for Young People. She has presented in conferences on reading education, particularly using international literature and graphic novels in the high school classroom.

Ashley Poertner

Ashley Poertner is Social Media Manager at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books and is pursuing a degree in Microbiology. She has worked with developmentally challenged individuals, and continues to donate her time to the remarkable people of that community. Ashley also volunteers at Yale's Marsh Gardens. She is a published author of short stories and poems, and an awarded acrylic painter.

Mariam Michael

Mariam Michael is the Graduate Student Assistant at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books. She greatly enjoys working with children, and being able to work with children's literature at the Center for Teaching through Children's Books gives her a better perspective on the various reading levels and different literary strategies used to entice children to read. She is currently in school for an M.A. in Psychology and works with special needs children.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

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    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

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