Children’s Book Illustration Postcard: “Summer” by Eric Carle

It’s “Sunflower Week” on Pics and Posts, so I’m sharing a children’s book illustration postcard out of sequence because…well, it’s a sunflower! 😉

Samantha (Sammoning on swap-bot), from the Netherlands, sent the Eric Carle postcard below  for Children’s Book Illustration Postcard swap #30.

Eric Carle, “Summer”

If you’re familiar with Eric Carle, the author/artist of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you probably recognized the sunflower as his work immediately.  The postcard comes from the World of Eric Carle 100 Postcards, a delightful collection full of the artist’s brilliant work. There is very little information about the postcard. The image was posted on Carle’s blog almost eight years ago with no other detail but the title. It is part of his “season’s collection.”

By the way, if you need a dose of the warm fuzzies, you should really check out his blog.

Carle has “written and/or illustrated more than 70 picture books.” His collage illustrations are made with hand-painted tissue paper. If you’re looking for a fun (and easy) art project to help you decompress after a long work day, check out Carle’s slideshow in which he shares his technique: How I Paint My Tissue Papers.

And if you’re (ever) in Amherst, Massachusetts, check out the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

See you tomorrow…with even more sunflowers.

Children’s Art: Crayola and Sunshine

My son’s school holds an art fair annually. Every year, I leisurely visit each display–at least twice. I missed the fair this year because I was in Chicago. I was pretty sad about missing out, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the school to meet with one of the teachers and found a lot of the art still on the walls! (I’d been told it had all been taken down immediately after the fair).

If that weren’t thrilling enough–I almost passed out with excitement when my eyes beheld the sunflower display of Ms. Middleton’s second grade class.

Gasp!

“Sunflower Wall,” Ms. Middleton’s Second Grade Class

Don’t you want a closer look?

Ms. Middleton’s Sunflower

Here are the kids’ sunflowers–made with crayola, innocence, and loads of sunshine. [Click an image for a closer look]

Aren’t they beautiful? Pretty impressive for second graders, huh? Their sunflowers are certainly better than any I can draw.

If you love sunflowers, stay tuned. I’ve declared this “Sunflower Week” on Pics and Posts!

 

 

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: A Quick Look at the Next Eight

I’m back with more children’s book illustration postcards, finally. The eight postcards below are familiar favorites from around the world.

Classic Pooh from Marianne in the Netherlands:

Swap 21: Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

You already know how I feel about Pooh. The cool thing about the Pooh card is I have the Classic Pooh postcard collection it comes from, so when I received the postcard, it felt like one that I sent into the world returned to me.

Mr. Men from Lihior in Israel:

BLC Swap 21: Mr. Mischief’s New Year, Mr. Men Annual (1987)

My son has a sizable collection of the Mr. Men and Little Miss books that can’t seem to part with. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed reading them to him more than he enjoyed hearing them. As a toddler, he was a bit “creeped out” by Mr. Nosey.

Tootles from Susan in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Swap 22: “Frolic.” From Tootle by Gertrude Crampton. Illustrated by Tibor Gergely, 1945

Tootle is a Little Golden Book, originally published in 1945,  and though I’m familiar with the collection, I’m not sure I’ve seen this one before. Here’s a description of the book from Penguin Random House:

In this classic Little Golden Book from 1945, Tootle is a young locomotive who loves to chase butterflies through the meadow. But he must learn to stay on the tracks no matter what—if he ever hopes to achieve his dream of being a Flyer between New York and Chicago!

Continuing with children’s books published in the 1940s, “A Baby Puffin” from Geraldine in Canada:

BLC Swap 22: ABC, 1943. Cover illustration by Dorothy Chapman

A Janosch illustration from Katrin in Germany:

Swap 23: “And good luck.” Janosch

According to Katrin,  the colorful books are very popular in Gemany. This one took a few too many “mail tattoos” as it winged its way to me, but the postage and cute Janosch stickers on back made up for the marks on front. [Click an image for a closer look].

Check out the photo essay on Janosch and his books here: Children’s Book Author Janosch at 85.

“Baby” Alice from Jeni in Indianapolis, Indiana:

BLC Swap 23:  The Macmillan Alice. “The cover of The Nursery Alice, first published in 1890, was designed and coloured by Emily Gertrude Thomson.”

I’m “holding my typing keys” and trying not to write much about this card. I have a nice collection of Alice in Wonderland postcards that I’m planning to blog about soon.

There’s a quote on the back of the card from Lewis Carroll’s diary, dated February 15, 1881:

I wrote to Macmillan to suggest a new idea: a ‘Nursery Edition’ of Alice with pictures printed in colour.

Another Pooh card from Marianne:

Winnie-the-Pooh.

It took some abuse in travel, but Pooh and Tigger were untouched.

Little Plum, another Puffin cover, from Geraldine in Canada:

BLC Swap 24: Little Plum, Cover illustration by Jean Primrose

I haven’t read Little Plum, but its description reminds me of childhood friends and that “one doll” that was never a first choice:

When Gem moves into The House Next Door, Nona and Belinda think she’s stuck up and vow to have nothing to do with her. But the beautiful Japanese doll in her window soon attracts their attention. They name her Little Plum because of the plum blossom decorating her clothes – but unlike Nona’s Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Little Plum seems sad, unloved and uncared for. Will the three girls – and the three dolls – ever become friends?  —Pan Macmillan

That’s it for today.  Students and papers call…

Have a happy week!

3-21: “Every Child Is a Gift”

Our children are special gifts…Every child brings something unique to her [his] family.  –Lovina Johnson

Being a parent is tough. I’m convinced that being a mom is tougher. We carry everything our children are in our hearts—the good, the bad, and everything between. It takes an insane amount of patience to step back and allow them to become, an extreme amount of self-training to work against our natural tendency to mold them into our ideal of perfect little beings who refine all the imperfections in us.

As moms we look forward (with bittersweetness) to our children’s increasing independence as they grow up and away from us and into their own adulthood.

Because of a brief exchange I had with a “special needs mom,” as she describes herself, I’ve been thinking about what this means for parents of “differently abled” children–children who are always set against strict societal definitions of normal and perfect and genius. How do these moms feel when societal standards are “out of reach” or “impossible” or “unattainable” for their children? When independence is a long, long way from now, if at all?

One of my dearest friends, Lovina, reminded me through a YouTube video that today is World Down Syndrome Day, and she answered “in brief” the question.

It warmed my heart to hear her share the story about her beautiful daughter Nya. One of my favorite people in the whole world was my mom’s youngest sister, Patricia. Trish, as we called her, had Down Syndrome. She lived to the age of 42 though she was not expected to even reach double digits. She was one of the sweetest souls and I vividly remember childhood and adulthood moments with her.

Today, I’m thinking about Trish and Nya. Today, I’m thinking about Lovina and all the moms and dads who learn that though their kid is not perfectly “crafted” by the world’s standards, they are beautifully perfect in their own skin.

To learn more about Down Syndrome and find out what’s going on around the world today, follow the links below:

I appreciate Lovina’s words–every child is a precious gift. Celebrate that today.

Lessons in Art and Piano

Pure exhaustion made me miss my “Focus on Black” post last Friday, so I’m posting this morning to avoid the same mistake this week.

Today, I’m using children’s art to “introduce” African American artist Romare Bearden.  Even though Bearden is far from an “unknown” artist, few people know who I’m talking about when I reference his work:

Considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, Romare Bearden’s artwork depicted the African-American culture and experience in creative and thought provoking ways. Born in North Carolina in 1912, Bearden spent much of his career in New York City. Virtually self-taught, his early works were realistic images, often with religious themes. He later transitioned to abstract and Cubist style paintings in oil and watercolor. He is best known for his photomontage compositions made from torn images of popular magazines and assembled into visually powerful statements on African-American life.  -from Biography.com

Last year, my favorite (now retired) second grade teacher, Mrs. Crarey, introduced her students to Bearden’s work. They studied his art, noted his interest in jazz music–which influenced some of his art–learned about his collage technique and then created their own Bearden-esque masterpieces. [Click an image for a closer look]

The children used rulers, pencils, Sharpies, crayons, and markers to imitate Bearden’s collage style. As you can see, they used piano keys patterns for their borders.

I pretty much love everything Bearden created.  The Piano Lesson: Homage to Mary Lou is my favorite, probably because it was the masterpiece that inspired African American playwright August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, one of my favorite plays.

The piece was inspired by jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams who collaborated with Bearden’s wife, Nannette, on a musical and dance composition.  If you are familiar with Henri Matisse’s The Piano Lesson and The Music Lesson, you will see his influence on the work as well.

There are two versions of the work–the original:

Romare Bearden’s  “The Piano Lesson: Homage to Mary Lou” (popularly known as “The Piano Lesson”). Watercolor, acrylic, graphite and printed paper collage on paper.

And a signed lithograph:

Romare Bearden, “The Piano Lesson,” Lithograph

For more about Bearden’s life and influences, click the links below:

The Bearden Foundation’s page features more resources such as a timeline and an impressive collection of Romare Bearden’s artwork.

Until next time…

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: From NZ to the USA

Since today begins Black History Month in the United States and since I’d planned to blog about children’s book illustration postcards today, I was curious about whether I have any children’s books postcards featuring the work of African American illustrators. I went through every postcard in my collection and, as suspected, I do not have any illustrations by African American artists. Then, I “googled” and found nothing.

Considering the high number of popular African American children’s authors and illustrators, I find this odd.  [Insert appropriate emoji here].

I’ll keep looking…

For now, let’s enjoy the eight children’s book illustration postcards I received for Children’s Book Illustration Postcards swaps 17-20.

From Pikkis in Finland, I received an illustration from the Finnish fairy tale Goldfish, written by Raul Roine and illustrated by Rudulph Koivu.

Swap 17: From “Goldfish” by Raul Roine. Illustrated by Rudolf Koivu

I’m not familiar with this tale; that might be because, as Pikkis points out, the fairy tale hasn’t been translated in English.

The postcard below came all the way from New Zealand.

BLC Swap 17: The Honour of the House by E.M. Channon

CindyST sent an “old fashion” book cover because she loves retro covers and illustrated books.

Lihior, of Israel, sent another postcard from the fairy tale collection that gave me The Frog King postcard featured in the previous Children’s Book Illustrations blog post

Swap 18: Hansel and Gretel. Illustrated by Aurélie Blanz

I was pleased that I could see the name of the illustrator, Aurélie Blanz, on this card.  It was nice to “discover” and explore Blanz’s brilliant work. I found another artist to love.

BLC Swap 18: Illustrator Fiep Westendorp

The postcard above, from Sammoning in the Netherlands, features an illustration by Fiep Westendorp, known for Jip en Janneke, Pluk van de Pettenflat and others.  Every year, “kids go door-to-door to sell card sets and [matching] stamps” for Kinderpostzegels–to support educational and children’s charities.

It’s always nice when a bear shows up in my mailbox.

Swap 19: Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer

Lars, the “little polar bear” came from Sissi, also in the Netherlands.

BLC Swap 19: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The postcard above, from HelenGB in Canada, features the cover of the first Frederick Warne edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902.

Alice in Wonderland postcards are a special treat because I love all the different artistic interpretations of the story [I won’t mention that I have a whole box of Alice postcards that I have trouble sharing].

Inger sent this one from Sarpsborg, which is in the south-east part of Norway.

Swap 20: “The cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked goodnatured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth.” Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by Sir John Tenneil

Her postcard also featured children’s book illustration postage:

And finally, Marinda in the United States sent an illustration from one of the sweetest tales I read to my little one when he was a baby, Guess How Much I Love You.

BLC Swap 20: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrator Anita Jeram

As always, an eclectic selection, but a feast for the eyes and warm fuzzies for the heart!

What About the Children?

Photo from Pixabay

I’m having another super busy Monday, but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart to share the powerful message about children and homelessness my sister-friend Takiyah Franklin (Tk) recently recorded.

In sharing why she recorded the song, Tk writes:

The homeless crisis is getting worse . . . and while I want to see more action from [our] city [and state] officials, we the people have to act as well. I definitely don’t have the solution to the housing crisis, but I know I’m not so far removed from the realities of poverty to not care. Music is one way to raise awareness, so I choose to lift my voice as a tool for social justice.

In speaking specifically about the situation in Oakland, California, Tk reminds:

It is our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society. It is our duty to hold local and state officials accountable for working with the community and the corporations taking over to find solutions to homelessness and poverty.

The song, called “Homeless Children,” is the result of the collaboration between  Dan Zemelman (pianist and co-writer), Albert Greenberg (co-writer), Alberto Hernandez (engineer), Julie Wolf (producer), and Tk (vocal artist).

Click the image to listen to the song:

“Homeless Children” Recording. Photo by Pat Augsburger. Used by Permission.

For more information about childhood homelessness and to find ways you can help, see the following:

Be sure to check out local missions and programs to help with the the homeless crisis in your area.

It is my hope that homeless children–indeed all homeless people–will get the assistance they need  to improve their circumstances on this side of heaven.