American Illustrated Literature for Children


(above: Howard Pyle, The Mermaid, 1910, oil on canvas, 57.8 x 40.1 inches, 1940: given to Delaware Art Museum by the children of Howard Pyle in memory of their mother, Anne Poole Pyle. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Illustrated Literature for Children." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:






From other websites:

The ABCs of Children's Book Illustration: Selections from the Zerzanek Collection of the Cedar Rapids Public Library was en exhibit held February 14 - May 17, 2015 at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art which says: "Starting in the 1950s, an exceptional children's librarian, Evelyn Zerzanek, asked children's book authors and illustrators to donate a work for the children of Cedar Rapids. Over the course of fifteen years, the collection grew to more than 1,400 pieces, representing various scenes and characters from childhood classics." Accessed August, 2016.

BAM! It's a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels is a 2015 exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art which says: "BAM! It's a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels features five of today's award winning graphic artists: Mark Crilley, Matthew Holm, Jerrett J. Krosoczka, Lincoln Peirce and Raina Telgemeier. Their bestselling picture books explore a wide range of life experiences, aspirations, challenges and fantasy relevant to teen life.  Parents, school, friends and romance are themes that run through stories filled with memorable characters, drama and humor. This exhibition presents 80 original illustrations used for publication." Accessed 3/17

Bravo! Chris Raschka is a 2009 exhibit at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature which says: "When viewing Raschka's art, movement and rhythm are evident in every piece. Bright colors, freeform shapes, active lines, busy compositions, childlike characters, abstract spatial arrangements, and white space draw one into the story. This exhibition highlights Raschka's varied style, which sometimes evokes the feel of Impressionist art, at times Georgia O'Keefe's style, and at times Paul Klee." Accessed 9/17

David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling is a 2019 exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum which says: "Wiesner's body of work explores the complexity of human imagination through richly layered imagery, clever composition, and humor. His many books have delighted readers of all ages for three decades with wildly imaginative tales that capture the joy of pictures and stories."  Also see website of artist. Accessed 6/20

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, says on its website that its mission is: " inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy." The museum organizes numerous traveling exhibits. Accessed December, 2015

Frog and Toad and the World of Arnold Lobel, an exhibit held November 21, 2013 - March 23, 2014 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francsico. Includes press release. Accessed December, 2015.

From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick, an exhibit held June 15 - September 29, 2013 at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Accessed July, 2014.

Garth Williams: Illustrator of the Century is a 2017 exhibit at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature  which says: " In addition to presenting original work for 28 of Williams' most beloved books, the exhibition also explores such lesser-known facets of the artist's career as Williams' journeyman efforts as a London portrait artist and New Yorker cartoonist and his occasional forays into advertising." Also see entry in Wikipedia   Accessed 8/17

Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Golden Books, an exhibit held October 19, 2014-January 4, 2015 at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Accessed February, 2015

Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning is a 2016-7 exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum which says: "Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning is the first museum exhibition on the world's most successful animation partnership. The exhibit provides a glimpse of the extraordinary story of how two astute businessmen reacted to a dying film animation industry and revolutionized a new format for their product, while hiring the best talent in the business, and explores how their product transformed over the years and adapted through government restrictions, corporate changes, and changing viewing habits." Accessed 1/17

Hidden Treasure: Original Children's Book Illustration from the Cedar Rapids Public Library an exhibit held January 27 - May 13, 2007 at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Accessed July, 2014.

It's Me, Eloise: The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight is a 2017 exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which says: "It's Me, Eloise: The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight includes more than 90 artworks from the Eloise collaborations -- as well as art from the rest of Knight's prodigious career as a children's book artist, poster artist, magazine illustrator, and painter." Also see artist's website. Accessed 3/17

Jan Brett: Stories Near and Far is a 2021 exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum which says: "This lively exhibition explores the breadth of Brett's art and the travel experiences that have inspired her many children's books and characters. Favorite stories, from Gingerbread Friends, The Umbrella, and HoneyHoney to her most recent published book, Cozy, are represented by more than eighty original artworks, as well as reference materials and selections from the artist's collection of unique objects and artifacts."  Accessed 1/22

J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch, an exhibit held Nov 20, 2014 - Mar 8, 2015 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francsico. Includes press release. Accessed December, 2015.

Lullaby and Goodnight - Children's Literature from the Morse Collection was an exhibit held October 29, 2013 through January 18, 2015 at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum says: "The books in this exhibition reflect the fact that by 1900, the principle of unified design was well established. Many artists held that good design should unify all aspects of the visual environment - from ceramics and glassware to furniture and wallpaper - and that the useful should be beautiful. This philosophical approach to design required that even children's literature be fully integrated with an enhanced visual environment and an element of a harmonious home." Accessed August, 2016.

Magic, Color, Flair: the world of Mary Blair, an exhibit held March 13 to September 7, 2014 at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Mary Blair was a famed animator at the Disney studios. She also was an illustrator or children's books. The exhibit included original illustrations from several of Blair's Golden Books including I Can Fly. Accessed December, 2015.

My Friend: Eric Rohmann is a 2015 exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition includes drawings, paintings and prints of children's book art by author-illustrator Eric Rohmann. Rohmann holds degrees in fine arts from Arizona State University and Illinois State University and currently lives in a suburb of Chicago. In addition to writing and illustrating children's books, he has taught drawing and printmaking. His artwork has been featured in various exhibitions and permanent collections throughout the country." Also see artist's website. Accessed 3/17

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature says: "The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature collaborates with award-winning artists to produce exhibitions of their artwork that are distinctive, appealing to museum visitors of all ages, and of the highest quality. In addition to this unique artistic partnership, following its debut at the NCCIL gallery each exhibition travels to museums, public libraries, and galleries nationwide." Accessed 10/16

Painter and Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan is a 2017 exhibit at the High Museum of Art which says: "Bryan (American, born 1923) has published children's books in a dizzying array of styles that reflect a wide variety of influences, from African folktales to jazz and poetry. The High is the sole venue for the exhibition, which introduces viewers to Bryan's prolific production through more than 70 original artworks from 20 of his books....Featured works range from the dynamic ink drawings in "The Dancing Granny" (1977) to the colorful cut-paper collages of "Beautiful Blackbird" (2002), a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner. Also on view is a selection of paintings from Bryan's powerful, award-winning title "Freedom Over Me" (Simon & Schuster, 2016), which received a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor in 2017. In addition to surveying Bryan's adaptations of poetry, folklore and spirituals, the exhibition explores the artist's fascinating biography and the important role that family heritage plays in his work." Accessed 5/17

The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman's Books for Children is a 2019 exhibit at the High Museum of Art  which says: "Perhaps best known for her quirky New Yorker magazine covers and brilliant pictorial essays, Kalman (American, born 1949) has published more than a dozen books for adults and 18 acclaimed children's books, beginning with the game-changing picture book Stay Up Late (1985), which gave visual form to the popular Talking Heads song from their Little Creatures album."  Also see High Museum of Art press release and artist's website  Accessed 11/19 

Some Illustrator! Pictures by Melissa Sweet is a 2017 exhibit at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature which says: "This exhibition features award-winning biographical work done in her signature watercolor and found-object collage style."  Also see artist's website  Accessed 12/17

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators website. Accessed August, 2015.

Sweetness and Light: Children in Illustration is a 2021 exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art which says: "Exclusive to the Huntsville Museum of Art, Sweetness and Light: Children in Illustration features approximately 35 original artworks by celebrated Golden Age Illustrators, including Jessie Wilcox Smith, Ludwig Bemelmans, John Clymer, F. X. Leyendecker, Hy Hintermeister and Harrison Fisher, borrowed from the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, RI. By illustrating subject matters related to children's lives throughout classic stories, magazine covers, and advertisements, these artists produced beautiful and compelling images which both reflected and shaped our understanding of childhood."  Accessed 1/22

Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney is a 2022 exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum which says: "Jerry Pinkney was one of America's most admired children's book illustrators. He won the Caldecott Medal and five Caldecott Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, the Coretta Scott King­Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Society of Illustrators' Original Art Show Lifetime Achievement Award, and many other prizes and honors. Until his death in 2021, Jerry Pinkney lived with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Westchester County, New York."  Accessed 6/22

A Time and Place for Everything: Peter Brown is a 2019 exhibit at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature which says: "Peter Brown has written and illustrated ten books and illustrated six books for other authors.  He has written four New York Times Bestsellers, received Caldecott Honor for illustration, and starred reviews in prestigious publications like Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Horn Book Magazine." Accessed 11/19

Wizards of Pop: Sabuda and Reinhart is a 2015 exhibit at the Akron Art Museum which says: "Celebrated children's book creators Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart combined their talents to create beloved and remarkable pop-up books as seen in the exhibition Wizards of Pop: Sabuda and Reinhart organized by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas" Accessed 3/17

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