Monday, November 18, 2013

Children's Books in New York

The lion at NYPL, thanks to Wickipedia Commons
Last weekend, I took a magical trip to New York City. My thanks begin with Rose Mary Berlin, who contacted illustrators who had met at past Highlights for Children Illustrator's parties. She arranged for us to meet at the Society of Illustrator's on 63rd Street in New York City.

Fellow illustrator, Judith Moffatt and I bussed down to the city and stayed in the East Village with her friend Ellen. We had a terrific weekend of friends, food, sightseeing, and children's book exhibits.

We began at the New York Public library... the Schwartzman Building where the famous lion protects the front entrance at 42nd and 5th. An exhibit called "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter," curated by Leonard Marcus, was showing.

The stunning ceiling at the NYPLibrary
Goodnight Moon exhibit
Judith Moffat and me at the
The exhibit started with the oldest known copy of the New-England Primer, where children were taught about the Bible. ("In Adam's Fall, we Sinned All.")

It finished with comics and graphic novels, from Shaun Tan's Arrival to Art Spiegleman's Maus.

In between were original handwritten manuscripts from Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, an original edition of William Blake's Songs of Innocence, which he wrote, illustrated, and printed himself in 1789.

We saw original Pooh stuffed animals, and a Japanese woodblock- printed book from 1720 known as Aka hon, or "red books." These kusa zoshi were especially earmarked for children. Original John Tenniel drawings from "Alice in Wonderland" are also included.
Original Winnie the Pooh toys

I found this book of interest... perhaps an original "pop-up" book? It included a real example for teaching workhouse children how to sew.

Since the exhibit is in the city, a section focused on modern books about New York City, and by New York author/illustrators (of which there are many!) 

A docent leads a tour weekdays at 12:30 and 2:30, and there is no charge.  This fine show runs through March 23, 201.

An excellent article from HornBook explains the process of the curator, Leonard S. Marcus.

Soon, Judy and I were racing off to our brunch at the Society of Illustrators, and more adventures in our Phantom Tollbooth auto. More to come in my next post.


  1. I could not have posted better! Love your post!

    1. Thanks Judy. It was a grand weekend. Thanks for being my travel companion.