Antonio Frasconi (1919-2013)

Antonio Frasconi, woodcut artist and children’s-book illustrator, died on January 9th at the age of 93. I heard about it this morning, but I’ve yet to find a full obituary (apart from this brief notice by Joey of Purchase College). So, I’m writing a few words. He was born in Buenos Aires, to Franco Frasconi

Mock Caldecott 2012: Manhattan, Kansas Edition

With thanks to the Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community (ChALC) for organizing the event and the Manhattan Public Library (especially Melendra Sanders) for hosting it, we held a Mock Caldecott at this afternoon. We weren’t able to get all of the books we wanted to look at, and we likely overlooked other Caldecott contenders.  But, based on what we did get to review, here

Avant-Garde Children’s Books; or, What I Learned in Sweden Last Week

There are a lot of modernist children’s books, and a fair few directly influenced by the historical avant-garde – and, yes, I am sharing images, below.  I learned about these books (and a great deal more) last week at Children’s Literature and the European Avant-Garde, a conference at Linköpings University, in Norrköping, Sweden.  You would

Jose Aruego (1932-2012)

Maurice Sendak, Ellen Levine, Jean Craighead George, Leo Dillon, and now Jose Aruego.  It’s been an all-too-mortal year for children’s books.  Mr. Aruego died on August 9, his 80th birthday. I never met Mr. Aruego, but he did kindly grant Julia Mickenberg and me permission to use his illustrations for Charlotte Pomerantz’s The Day They

Sarah Lazarovic, "Syd Hoff's Cartoon Life," p. 1

Syd Hoff at 100

Syd Hoff (1912-2004) would have been 100 this year. As readers of this blog will know, I corresponded with Syd (here’s one letter & here’s another) while researching my biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss (coming this September)! In commemoration of Hoff’s centennial, Sarah Lazarovic has created a wonderful cartoon, based on Dina Weinstein’s

Ignorance Is Not a Virtue

The critic who touts his ignorance as a virtue should not have a job as a critic.  Any “news” publication that employs such a person in this capacity is shirking its responsibility to provide well-informed discourse. So, then.  Why would Time magazine or the New York Times employ Joel Stein? In his “Adults Should Read

Harry Potter, Seriously

Children’s literature is literature. Intelligent adults already know this. However, as those of you who study or write or teach children’s literature are well aware, the world is full of alleged grown-ups who insist on spreading the myth that children’s literature is not literature, and (thus) cannot be studied as such. A week or so

Tributes to Maurice Sendak: Visual Artists Respond

Fitting that the passing of an artist should inspire so much art.  Here are a few tributes to Maurice Sendak that I’ve enjoyed. (I’ve assembled links to prose tributes at the bottom of my reminiscence of Maurice; The Comics Journal has its own page of mostly prose tributes, too.) Pat Bagley This is easily my favorite,