Thursday, December 9, 2010

For Love of Children's Literature

Recently I went to a wonderful exhibit at the Concord Museum in historical Concord, Massachusetts. The exhibit was called Family Trees, a celebration of children's literature. Throughout the museum, trees were decorated to celebrate the spirit of various illustrated children's books. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed in the museum, so I can only tell you how enchanting these trees were.
In the main hall, a large tree was decorated with felt ornaments made by Clare Beaton, the author and illustrator of One Moose, Twenty Mice. The ornaments were delightful, embellished with buttons, beads and sequins, which make the illustrations in the book look temptingly tactile! I couldn't resist buying the book!

Some of my other favorite trees were decorated to celebrate the books The Fabrics of Fairy Tales  (a book I already own), retold by Tanya Robyn Batt and illustrated by Rachel Griffin,  In Grandma's Arms by Jayne C. Shelton, illustrated by Karen Katz, and My Garden, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes.

I think my avid interest in children's books comes from my years as a primary school teacher, as well as the love of books my daughter Kate and I read together when she was a child. To this day, she has sealed plastic boxes of her childhood books stored in our attic, waiting for the day when she settles into a permanent home with a large wall of bookshelves. 

And I have a small collection of my own of kids' books illustrated with fabric or cut paper. I love, love, love to take them out and pour over them! Here are two of them:

I confess that it has long been on my wish list to write a children's book of my own, with fabric art or cut paper illustrations. There are so many ways to self-publish these days it is becoming a feasible dream.

Perhaps in 2011.....!!



sharon said...

I see what you meant about the coincidence of my writing to you about Barbara Hart Decker just at this time! Don't you just love serendipity?
I wish I could have gone to the exhibit with you. Children's book illustrations are amazing. I developed a very large collection of "picture" books for the middle school library I had the good fortune to direct. They were used by every department and every grade level in the school. Some of my autistic students made good breakthroughs in their development through those books.
The examples you show here are lovely.
Please wrap your head and heart around writing a children's book. I believe there may be several within you.

Beatriz said...

Good idea. I´ve done it myself and plan to do the illustration myself for the next one.
Maybe you should try a publisher. In fact públishing is easy. Distributing it is something only a publisher can do properly.
I´m sure you will do a great job and get publishers interested.

Go for it!

Anne Butera said...

I agree! Go for it!

Your art is so lovely. You really have an eye. Until recently I worked as a children's librarian and have read LOTS and LOTS of picture books. It's amazing how many bad ones are out there. The world needs more that are wonderful.

Pam Perras said...

Judy, I hope you do write and illustrate a book—I'm sure it would be beautiful. And, I agree, you should try to get it published professionally. 2011 could be your year! I hope so.

Judy Hartman said...

Thank you SO MUCH for these comments. I only threw that thought out at the last moment and I'm really touched by your responses. Maybe 2011 will be my year!
Thank you.

tea time and roses said...

Oh Judy your dream of writing a children's book is a wonderful one. Writing coupled with your art, beautiful for sure.

I too love children's books, and have collected a few over the years. One of my favorite is "Amazing Grace". The illustrations are beautiful, the writing so sweet. Those things we sometimes forget as adults are beautifully reminded in children's books. Follow your dreams dear friend. A wonderful goal for 2011!!:o)

Happy weekend to you!



Libby Fife said...

What a wonderful exhibit! Thank you for sharing too some of those authors. It is funny that we wonder about the same thing-writing a childrens book illustrated with fabric or paper? Have you checked out the work of Salley Mavor? I think you would really enjoy it.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Hi Judy,
Loved this post...the Concord Museum sounds so delightful and magical this time of year...have never been there but family lives in Concord, maybe someday we can visit the Museum.
I've also collected children's books over the years and maybe like you, this could be the year we make our own! Best of luck!

Shell said...

I think you should do that book. With your artwork with a wonderful story it would be great.

Karen L R said...