Introduce your class to primary sources from Archives and Special Collections, UConn’s only public archive that offers students opportunities to explore and experience original letters, diaries, photographs, maps, drawings, artists books, graphic novels, student newspapers, travel narratives, oral histories, and rare sound recordings to illuminate a given topic of study. With over 40,000 linear feet of materials – located in the center of campus at the Dodd Research Center – the Archives welcomes all visitors to its Reading Room, a quiet space to contemplate potentially transformative resources. Continue reading
A new finding aid is now available for the Emily Arnold McCully Papers. The collection consists of sketches, dummies, research materials and artwork for eight of her books: The Taxing Case of the Cows, the Divide, Old Home Day, Ballot Box Battle, Ballerina Swan, My Heart Glow, Secret Seder, and The Helpful Puppy. Emily Arnold McCully, an American writer and illustrator, won the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration in 1993, for Mirette on the High Wire which she also wrote.
She was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1939, and grew up in Garden City, New York. She attended Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University, and earned an M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. At Brown she acted in the inaugural evening of Production Workshop and other plays, co-wrote the annual musical, Brownbrokers, and earned a Phi Beta Kappa key.
In 1976, she published a short story in The Massachusetts Review. It was selected for the O’Henry Collection: Best Short Stories of the Year. Two novels followed: A Craving in 1982, and Life Drawing in 1986. In 2012, Ms. McCully published Ballerina Swan with Holiday House Books for Young People, written by legendary prima ballerina Allegra Kent. It has received rave reviews from The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal and was praised in the “Talk of the Town” column in The New Yorker.
As an actor, she performed in Equity productions of Elizabeth Diggs’ Saint Florence at Capital Rep in Albany and The Vineyard Theater in New York City. In addition to the Caldecott Award, Ms. McCully has received a Christopher Award for Picnic, the Jane Addams Award, the Giverney Award and an honorary doctorate from Brown University.
As of June 30, 2015, Terri J. Goldich will retire from the University of Connecticut after a career of over 38 years with the UConn Libraries. Ms. Goldich has had the good fortune to serve as the curator for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection in Archives & Special Collections in a full-time capacity since February of 1998. Care of the NCLC will be taken on by Kristin Eshelman, a highly skilled archivist currently on staff in the Archives. Ms. Eshelman’s contact information is available on the website at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/about/staff.htm.
Dr. Capshaw’s latest book, Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2014. In it Dr. Capshaw “…draws on works ranging from documentary photography, coffee-table and art books, and popular historical narratives and photographic picture books for the very young.” (http://generalbooks.bookstore.uconn.edu/event/book-launch-katherine-capshaw). Please join us on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 4:00pm at the UConn Co-op Bookstore, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, Storrs, CT 06268. For more information call 860-486-8525.
At 9pm on March 23, 2015, HBO will present a documentary produced by Lena Dunham, titled It’s me, Hilary: the Man who Drew Eloise, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first Eloise book. Lena Dunham, now 28, bears a tattoo of Eloise that is visible at times during her appearances on the HBO show Girls, so Hilary Knight sent her a signed book and a letter asking Ms. Dunham to share Indian food with him. The rest, as they say, is history. Read the full LA Times story. The Northeast Children’s Literature Collection holds some of Mr. Knight’s archival papers. Don’t miss the show tonight at 9pm.
Random House announced yesterday that it will publish What pet should I get? which features the brother and sister from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. The manuscript and sketches were found in a box along with the original materials for at least two other books. Random House will announce the publication dates for the other new releases later.
Dr. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, set the box aside after her husband’s death in 1991, during a renovation of their home. She and a longtime friend recently rediscovered the box, explaining in a statement to Random House: “Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time — he was constantly drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories.”
What fantastic news for fans of Dr. Seuss.
From Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., Director, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute Associate Professor of English and Asian/Asian American Studies:
On February 12, 2015 (at 4 PM) the UConn Co-op (in Storrs Center) will be hosting a book launch for Kate Capshaw’s recently published book, Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press). What follows is a brief description of the book and a link:
Civil Rights Childhood explores the function of children’s photographic books and the image of the black child in social justice campaigns for school integration and the civil rights movement. Drawing on works ranging from documentary photography and popular historical narratives to coffee-table and art books, Katharine Capshaw shows how the photobook-and the aspirations of childhood itself-encourage cultural transformation. (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/civil-rights-childhood)
This event is sponsored and hosted by the University Co-Op. For more information, please feel free to contact Cathy Schlund-Vials (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>).
Congratulations to all of the American Library Association award winners! The 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced on Monday, Feb. 2 during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. Several of our friends won major awards. A donor to the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, Weston Woods Studio, Inc., received the Andrew Carnegie Medal honoring the most outstanding video productions for children released in the previous year. The winners are Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard, producers of Me…Jane, the adaption of Patrick McDonnell’s Caldecott Honor book for 2012 about Jane Goodall.
University of Connecticut’s Professor Emerita Marilyn Nelson received the Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor Book Award for How I Discovered Poetry, illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published by Dial Books. Donald Crews, who participated in the CT Children’s Book Fair in 1997, is the winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which honors an author or illustrator who had made “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” (ALA.org).
Natalie Lloyd’s first novel, A Snicker of Magic, was a hit at the 2014 CT Children’s Book Fair as was Natalie herself. The audiobook produced by Scholastic Audiobooks was awarded the Odyssey Award, for being one of the best audiobooks produced in English in the U.S. Another Book Fair participant from 2003, Ann M. Martin, was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award for Rain Reign. The Schneider Family honors books embodying “an artistic expression of the disability experience.” (ALA.org).
Mo Willems, another member of the NCLC and Book Fair family, won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award for his Waiting is not Easy! published by Hyperion Books for Children. Len Vlahos presented at the Book Fair in 2014 and was a finalist for the 2015 William C. Morris Award, given to a first-time author writing for teens. NCLC donor and Book Fair participant Emily Arnold McCully was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for her work Ida M. Tarbell: the Woman who Challenged Big Business-and Won!
For a complete listing of the 2015 Youth Media Awards, visit the American Library Association’s site. Congratulations, everyone!
Norman Ray Bridwell of Edgartown, who brought delight to millions of readers young and old as the author of Clifford the Big Red Dog series of books, died on Friday, December 12, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He was 86.
Norman Bridwell was born in Kokomo, Indiana, in 1928, according to a biography by Scholastic Books. He studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and Cooper Union Art School in New York before working as a commercial artist for 12 years.
In 1962 Mr. Bridwell found himself having to support a wife and infant daughter on extra money he picked up doing freelance artwork. He considered supplementing his income by illustrating picture books. An editor at Harper & Row advised him that he might find success by writing a story about one of his pictures. Because of his young daughter, Bridwell chose to write a story about an illustration he had made of a little girl and a big red bloodhound. He decided to make the dog very big and more of a general, all-around dog instead of a bloodhound. Mr. Bridwell wanted to name the dog Tiny, but his wife thought the name too boring. She suggested the name Clifford, after an imaginary play friend from her own childhood. With that settled, Norman Bridwell decided to name the little girl in his book after his own daughter, Emily Elizabeth, and within a few days he completed his story. Three weeks after submitting his story and illustrations to Scholastic Books, the publishers called with an offer to publish his work.
Forty titles and 60 million copies later, Clifford the Big Red Dog is a well-known and beloved character to the preschool set.
Norman Bridwell gave generously of his time and was an annual contributor to the Possible Dreams auction, the major fundraiser for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the Island’s social services umbrella agency.
He was the husband of Norma (Howard) Bridwell and father of Tim Bridwell and Emily Bridwell Merz. A memorial service will be held in the summer of 2015 and a complete obituary will follow in a future edition of The Times.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.
IT’S ALL ABOUT STORY
When I began my research on the relationship between text and art in picture books, I was hoping to uncover the “secrets” of some of the author/illustrators whose work is housed in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection archives. I studied a number of different collections, and I am leaving with many ideas of how to improve my craft. My writing process will now include consistent creation of picture book mock-ups (dummies), and I have a greater understanding of specific approaches to writing text that “leaves room” for an illustrator.
Interestingly, though, I conclude my research with one overriding thought. The very best picture books—whether written by an author and illustrated by someone else, or created by an author/illustrator—have at their heart a good story. So authors and author/illustrators have equal opportunity to begin their creative picture book journeys in the same place – at the deep well of great stories we each have within us, stories about memorable characters who change as they solve problems or encounter conflict.
Revising text plays an important role in refining such stories (although the author/illustrator also revises art to strengthen his or her work). But always, it is the story that is the starting point. I will share a fine example:
WINGS: A TALE OF TWO CHICKENSby James Marshall
The kernel of this story appears to have been James Marshall’s vision of an old, hungry fox trying to outwit foolish fowl to find a meal. A preliminary sketch shows the disguised fox tricking a chicken into a bag.
When two silly geese sisters offer to help transport the heavy bag, the fox says, “This is too good to be true.”
An incomplete, early dummy of this story line shows a “chicken crossing” sign and a fox hiding behind a tree:
The text on this opening page reads:
At a spot where chickens were
frequently known to cross the road,
a hungry fox came to stand and wait.
As he was no longer young
and agile, he had learned
to rely more heavily on his wits.
And for this occasion, he had come
The focus on the fox as protagonist continues in this version of the story, where we see the fox waiting in his chicken disguise:
However, it appears that James Marshall soon decided he could tell a better story from another angle (the incomplete dummy ends on page 6).
The first complete dummy reveals that the plot has taken a very different turn. Marshall completely switches the beginning to focus on two chickens who are close friends (maybe the two silly goose sisters in his preliminary sketches inspired this turn); the fox still plays a key role, but he is no longer a protagonist.
The title of the book, shown on this hand-drawn dummy cover, is:
A TALE OF TWO CHICKENS
Two chickens, with parasols, stand side by side at the edge of a precipice, and a fox hides in bushes in the background. The reader immediately knows this is a story of friendship and danger, and the first line of the dummy introduces Edna and Winnie (Harriet and Winnie in the published version) who are “as different as two chickens could possibly be.”
The first page in the published book shows the two good friends sharing tea:
Marshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens (New York: Viking Kestrel, 3. Photo taken from CLC C38, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.
Edna (Harriet) loves reading and hobbies. Winnie would “rather swat flies than read” and is easily bored. Marshall sets up this pair of friends immediately, and when the disguised fox appears and offers foolish Winnie a ride in a hot air balloon, Edna (Harriet) fears for Winnie’s safety. A whole series of events follows, with the dastardly fox ultimately outwitted by Harriet, disguised as a fox. The plot twists and understated text are hilarious, and readers cheer for the friends right up until the closing page, when Harriet tucks Winnie into bed.
Marshall revised and refined his text zealously—on the top of the cover of his Sept. ‘85 draft (see above) there is a parenthetical note he wrote to himself in blue pen, “too wordy.” The following pages are replete with red pencil cross outs and revisions, to pare the text of this story. For example:
Marshall clearly thought about pacing and forward movement as he revised. The above page 5 has a crossed-out, bracketed note he wrote to himself: [Some lead in here for story?]. He created that lead-in by penciling in the line spoken by Winnie just before the hot air balloon floats into the garden:
“I wish something wild would happen,” said Winnie.
And the story takes off from there. James Marshall continued to revise his text to strengthen his story and characters throughout that first complete dummy, a second dummy, a final dummy, and various pages of text revised within some of his sketchbooks.
As for character growth? Winnie is at last reading a book— about foxes. She exclaims, “Mr. Johnson was a fox!” Meanwhile, Harriet hasn’t given up on her friend. “Maybe there’s hope for her yet,” said Harriet.
Marshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens (New York: Viking Kestrel, 32. Photo taken from CLC C38, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.
I am concluding my research at the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection greatly inspired. For several months, I have been working on a picture book, Chipmunk and Robin, about two close friends who are very different. As I polish and revise this story, I will draw on my new knowledge of how some of the best picture book story tellers (who happen to also be illustrators) craft character, crisis, and resolution into a full and satisfying story arc. Even though it will be a lot of work, the real secret is—it will be a lot of fun!
Congratulations, Barbara McClintock! Where’s Mommy, written by Beverly Donofrio, has been named one of New York Times Best Illustrated Books for 2014. The NYT website reports: “Every year since 1952, the Book Review has convened an independent panel of judges to select picture books on the basis of artistic merit. The winning books are chosen from among thousands for what is the only annual award of its kind.” Fantastic news, Barbara!