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The Scoop from Brad & Lissa
Anyone who has spent time reading a book to a child knows the power of illustrations to help convey a story. Often a picture book is a child’s initial introduction to reading and art, and the combination of text and illustrations is a powerful means of fostering language development and literacy in kids of all ages. In fact, illustrations are so elemental to children’s literature that picture books have long been regarded as a literary genre of their own.
And one of the most prestigious prizes in literature—the Caldecott Medal, named in honor of the 19th century illustrator Randolph Caldecott—has been given annually since 1938 to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, and Politics & Prose is commemorating the occasion with a symposium called “Picture Books: Through the Ages and For All Ages” on May 19 at 5 p.m. We are thrilled to have an extraordinary panel of writers and artists joining us for a discussion about the history of the picture book, the value of the genre to various age groups, and the likely influence of picture books on future generations. Leonard Marcus, a leading writer and historian about children’s books, will serve as moderator. Panelists include Neal Porter (editorial director, Neal Porter Books), authors Mac Barnett, Meg Medina, and Jon Scieszka, and authors/artists Christopher Myers and Laura Vacarro Seeger.
This is a rare opportunity for parents, educators, librarians, and aspiring and veteran children’s book authors and artists to hear from experts directly involved in creating award-winning picture books. The symposium will also illuminate the ways in which picture books over the years have captured the growing diversity of American society and retained their value, even in the face of occasional questions about their relevance in the digital age. (A piece in the New York Times in 2010 by journalist Julie Bosman about whether picture books are a staple for children generated a fervent outcry from picture book fans.)
We hope you will be able to join us for the discussion. And on your next visit to the store, please take a look at the picture book proclamation hanging in the window of our Children and Teens Department. Spearheaded by Mac Barnett, designed by Carson Ellis and signed by 21 other creators of picture books, the proclamation, which first appeared in the November 2011 Horn Book, reflects our store’s steadfast philosophy that picture books are essential to the literary canon for children and represent some of the finest stories and artwork around.
A reception will follow the event and signing. Prints by picture book artists, including Jon Klassen, will be available for purchase.
- Brad and Lissa