My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is required reading for an internship this summer, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea such a treasure trove was here in Minneapolis until I went to a talk at the University of Minnesota Library about "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter," an exhibit about children's book art and illustration. I am studying illustration and I do have a special love for picture books/graphic novels/any books with illustrations. I was excited to check it out. It was there that I discovered the Kerlan Collection, which is a repository of children's books, lovingly began by Dr. Irvin Kerlan starting in the 40s. It now contains 100,000s of children's books, and the present incarnation receives all of its works from donations by the artists. This book was published to celebrate the Kerlan and at large, the amazing world of children's book illustration. For a relatively short volume, it accomplishes a lot. It has images of pivotal children's books and their art, but clearly that's just scratching the surface, which the author, Leonard S. Marcus clearly states.
One of the best things that I've ever encountered in my life was a book. Going to the library never fails to excite me. I remember many of the books that are mentioned in this volume, and many others I made notes to read. As a maker and an artist, I loved the innovation and work that goes into creating the art and the books for kids, but also as a consumer I love exploring the books and learning about the processes and factors behind their creation.
I appreciated the historical look at children's book illustration and also how this book is intentional about looking at the multicultural efforts made in developing and creating space for diversity of experiences and ethnicities. It's so important that children are given the space and tools to develop their minds and their sense and to learn the vast possibilities of the world, and how to process the stimuli and integrate it into their knowledge base. I like that it incorporates the awareness of the strong artistic endeavor that goes into making children's book illustration and into a cohesive final product that engages the sensory organs of children, including the eyes, ears and hands.
If you're in Minneapolis when we're not on lockdown because of COVID-19, stop by and visit, it's open to everyone.
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