Tag Archives: illustrators

Remembering James Stevenson

You might know the work of James Stevenson whether you are a child or a grown-up. He was a cartoonist at the New Yorker for many years. He also illustrated books for children, including his own stories and poetry, poetry by Jack Prelutsky, and stories about “The Pain and the Great One” by Judy Blume. We would be happy to help you find his work in our collection or place a hold on titles available at another library.

Which do you like best?


A panel of judges recently named a list of the best illustrated children’s books of 2015.  Here are a few of them that are currently available at the Fountaindale Public Library, with our thoughts:

A fine dessert : four centuries, four families, one delicious treat
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins & Sophie Blackall
“Sometimes teachers ask us for a title that illustrates the concepts continuity and change.  This book is a great example.  In each of the four centuries, a child is helping a parent make the dessert blackberry fool (made with fruit and whipped cream).  While those elements stay the same, the technology and the ways people interact relate to each other change a great deal.”  -Ms. Sarah
This title is also available to download as an ebook.

Leo: A Ghost Story
Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett
“I read Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett.  It was funny, sad, and happy all in one book.  Poor little Leo lived all alone and got excited when a family moved into his home.  The family was not accepting of his presence and he left his home knowing he was unwanted.  While wondering the streets of a busy city, everything turned around when he met his new best friend.  In the end, Leo becomes a hero and he find his place in his new home.  ‘Most people cannot see ghosts. Can you?’ Great story!”  -Ms. Ashley

Sidewalk Flowers
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith
“This picture book is told only in pictures, no words. Mostly all the pictures are black and white with just some color pictures throughout the book. The young girl with her red hoodie is picking up flowers along the sidewalk and then giving them to various recipients along the way. I love the idea of this book about how important the little things in life are.”  -Ms. Nancy
This title is also available to download as an ebook.

Tricky Vic: the impossibly true story of the man who sold the Eiffel Tower
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli
“You can’t blame the author for wanting to tell this true story: a con man, Al Capone, a prison escape, the Eiffel Tower, Alcatraz… all great story elements.  The illustrations are intriguing, too.  The author/illustrator of Number One Sam and The Watermelon Seed uses an old-fashioned style with a few unique touches.  Most of the characters in the story have cartoon faces, but the criminal main character has a mysterious fingerprint for a head.  One of the marks, surnamed Poisson, has a fish head.  There are a few collage elements (in the notes at the end, Greg Pizzoli mentions using photographs and rubber stamps).  You’re not exactly sorry to see Victor Lustig caught and punished at the end, but the character is a con man and he does make you want to like him.” -Ms. Sarah

Inspiring Art

This video gives you a taste of a lovely book, My America, featuring the poetry of Jan Spivey Gilchrist and illustrations by both Gilchrist and Ashley Bryan.  Both artists are winners of the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration.

During the library’s Coretta Scott King Award Festival, February 18-20, you will have a chance to explore different styles of art and make your own art projects to take home.

On Saturday, you can make a collage.  We were especially inspired by the beautiful collage art of Bryan Collier, though you might also draw inspiration for your artwork from Ashley Bryan‘s paper cutting or Faith Ringgold‘s story quilts.

Sunday,  you can design your own dinosaur, like the little girl in Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist’s I Can Draw a Weeposaur.  Stay to hear Mrs. Gilchrist speak about being an artist at 2:00!

Monday (when children are out of school for Presidents’ Day) we will be showing short videos based on books that won the Coretta Scott King Award.  After the videos, you can stay to make a craft.  We’ll start at 11:00 a.m. with Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.  Afterwards, design a collage with Kente cloth-patterned paper and create a fancy hairstyle with yarn.  At 1:30 in the afternoon we’ll continue with two stories that feature quilts (The Patchwork Quilt and Tar Beach) followed by quilt crafts.  After that, at 2:45, you can enjoy Duke Ellington (based on the book by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney) and Ellington Was Not a Street.  We’ll finish by using a scratchboard to make a picture, a technique Brian Pinkney uses in many of his books.

Sneak Preview!

Get to know our guest, illustrator Jan Spivey Gilchrist, before she visits on Sunday, February 19:


Coming Soon: Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Jan Spivey Gilchrist
The winners of several children’s book awards were announced last Monday, including the winners of the Coretta Scott King Award.  We were happy to note that one of the honor books this year was illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, who will be visiting the library on February 19 as part of our Coretta Scott King Award Festival.  You will have a chance to buy one of her books and have it signed, and also to listen to her talk about what it’s like to be an artist!

Here are a few of the award-winning books she has illustrated:

The Great Migration
The Great Migration: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield was one of this year’s Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books.  Mrs. Gilchrist has collaborated with the same poet on many other books.

Nathaniel Talking
Nathaniel Talking
was a favorite in 1990.  Mrs. Gilchrist won the CSK Illustrator Award, and the book also earned a CSK Author Honor for Ms. Greenfield.

Night on Neighborhood Street
Night on Neighborhood Street
was an Honor Book for both the author and the illustrator in 1992.

You can learn more about Jan Spivey Gilchrist by clicking on her photograph.  You can find many more books she has illustrated here at the library!

We’re open for Martin Luther King Day!

The very first book to ever be recognized with a Coretta Scott King Award was Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace by Lillie Patterson.

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
, compiled by Coretta Scott King, received a special citation in 1984.

Lillie Patterson received an Author Honor in 1990 for Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Freedom Movement.

A title I especially like to recommend for younger children, Martin’s Big Words

Martin's Big Words

by Doreen Rappaport, features actual quotations from Dr. King with amazing collages by Bryan Collier which received the 2002 Illustrator Honor.

Big Award Winners, part 3

Here’s more news about this year’s award-winning books announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston.  The Coretta Scott King Award honors African American authors and illustrators of “outstanding books for children and young adults.”

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson wrote Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall, this year’s King Author Book winner.  We just received more copies of this book!  This one always draws readers’ attention because it is a great, big picture book biography with big, bold graphics.

Author tanita s. davis was also honored for Mare’s War (a young adult novel), the only title selected as a King Author Honor Book.

My People
, a Langston Hughes poem illustrated with photos by Charles R. Smith, Jr., was selected as the King Illustrator Book winner.  This is another title that tends to fly off the shelves.  I mean, who can resist that face?  Mr. Smith has also illustrated several other books, many combining sports photos and poetry, including an unusually athletic take on Rudyard Kipling’s poem If.

The King Illustrator Honor book was also a book made from a Langston Hughes poem: The Negro Speaks of Rivers, illustrated with watercolor paintings by E.B. Lewis.  The words of the poem take you from Africa to the Americas and from ancient to modern times.  Mr. Lewis was well-prepared to illustrate it, because his body of work includes illustrations for picture books set in Africa and America in a variety of historical settings and the present-day.

The Coretta Scott King Awards also include the John Steptoe Awards for New Talent.  They are meant to recognize authors or illustrators (John Steptoe was both) who are just beginning their careers.  John Steptoe is probably best known for Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.  This year, the award goes to The Rock and the River (a young adult novel) by kekla magoon.

The Coretta Scott King Awards included the Virginia Hamilton Award for lifetime achievement for the first time this year.  Walter Dean Myers is the winner.  His work ranges from nonfiction to picture books to teen novels about war, junior fiction mysteries, poetry, “My Name is America” series books, and more.  He has collaborated several times with his son, Christopher Myers, a children’s book illustrator.  The author for whom the award is named, Virginia Hamilton, also wrote a very broad range of books ranging from realistic fiction to ghost stories, folklore, history, and picture books.  -Miss Sarah