Fall schedules are filling up fast for families as students head back to school. With busy days and nights ahead, independent reading can often fall by the wayside as families adjust to their new back-to-school routines. Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature at the University of Minnesota, answers questions about the importance of independent reading for children’s literacy development and how to make independent reading a priority this fall.
To create her illustrations, Margaret Chodos-Irvine transferred color from one surface to another, building the images up gradually from flat layers of color. For her linoleum block prints (linocuts), she cut the image into sheets of battleship linoleum, rolled ink onto the surface, and printed the image onto paper using an etching press.
Illustrator Dan Santat’s style ranges from detailed to quite spare, but always seems to have a freshness and snap, in part because of his lively linework, rich colors, and loose, painterly textures. Santat used to paint in acrylics. He moved into a process of starting pieces in acrylic and developing the finish in Photoshop; and now does many of his illustrations directly in Photoshop.
James McMullan, illustrator of “I Stink,” was born in China. He went to elementary school in India and loved to draw. He staved off the tough kids by being able to draw Wonder Woman. When McMullan was 17, he and his mother immigrated to the United States. He studied for a year at the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle and then volunteered for the United States Army (where he illustrated diagrams of where to position propaganda loudspeakers on Sherman tanks.) After his service, McMullan moved to New York City and continued his art education at Pratt Institute.
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”: “Like the caterpillar in the story, this well-loved picture book underwent a major metamorphosis, having begun life as a manuscript of uncertain promise titled A Week with Willi Worm.” —Leonard Marcus.
In a funny graphic novel for young readers, Babymouse learns that a friend who treats her like a queen is worth more than an invitation to a popular but cruel schoolmate’s sleepover. This 2006 graphic novel was the first of this format to win an ALA notable children’s book citation. Notable Children’s books are those especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and are books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.
When we think of Maurice Sendak, our immediate thoughts go to his ground-breaking Caldecott winning title, Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak smashed the perception of childhood as a time of pleasantness, a time of unicorns and rainbows, sweetness and light. He appalled the “gate keepers” of the time. Too scary they said.
Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney have made an outstanding contribution to the field of children’s literature both as individuals and as a team. Together, they have published more than 70 children’s books that have received the highest awards and accolades.