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The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter

By April 4, 2019May 13th, 2021The Kerlan Blog


The ABC of IT: Why Children’s Books Matter

Join us for The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter — a major exhibit from the Kerlan Collection that features 250 books and objects that illuminate the importance of children’s literature throughout history. Immerse yourself in over 200 selected treasures including original art and manuscripts — from Millions of Cats to Poky Little Puppy to Beatrix Potter’s sketches for Peter Rabbit — a lush range of materials that explore the impact of children’s literature in society and culture over time. CEU credit certificate available on request for all events. 


*Attend one or attend all, open with registration. 

OLLI* Class 1: Visions of Childhood | Wednesday, April 10, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

OLLI* Class 2: Giving and Getting Books | Wednesday, April 17, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. 

OLLI* Class 3: The Art of the Picture Book | Wednesday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – Noon 

*   Although these sessions are open to the public, if you are not an OLLI member, attendees need to be preregistered because of limited seating. 

Raul Colon’s illustration from José! the picture book biography of dancer/choreographer José Límon. Baby kicking legs up in a wicker bassinet.

Save the Date, May 10th, noon

The ABC of It: Whose Story is Being Told?

 Race, Inclusion, and Representation in Children’s Literature

The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter is an exhibit at the Elmer L. Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.

Join us on Friday, May 10, 2019, 12:00 Noon

for an in-depth discussion of how all people who interact with children and books can examine bias, social justice, and literature, historically and today.


Andrea Davis Pinkney, Vice President, Executive Editor- Scholastic Trade and New York Times bestselling author and  Coretta Scott King Award Winner for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America.

Dawn Quigley, PhD, Assistant Professor St. Catherine University, author of Silenced. Voices Taken from American Indian Characters in Children’s Literature and the young adult novel Apple in The Middle.

Katie Ishizuka, MSW director and researcher for the critical literacy nonprofit, The Conscious Kid and Ramón Stephens, PhD student and S.E.E.D. Fellow, University of California, authors of The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’s Children’s Books.

This event was made possible by generous gift from Governor Elmer L. and Mrs. Eleanor Andersen in honor of former University Librarian Dr. Edward B. Stanford.

Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
University of Minnesota, 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455
Parking and directions Free and open to the public.
Light refreshments at 11:45 a.m. 

To register for this event RSVP here

What people have said

The ABC of It …underscores the power of words and pictures to inspire, build, and transform.”—Andrea Davis Pinkney, The New York Times bestselling author of A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day

“This is a beautiful reimagining of a milestone exhibition on children’s literature. Exquisitely rendered and inclusive in its vision. Highly recommended.”—Lynne M. Thomas, Head, Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“WOW. Fascinating. Illuminating. And deeply entertaining. Required reading for anyone interested in children, reading, and/or children’s reading.”—Jon Scieszka, Inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature


February 11 until May 31, 2019 

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays | 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Wednesdays and Thursdays | 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 


Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455 

More information at


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