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Additions to children's literature collection on display

New original art, books and other materials have been donated by 12 children's book authors/illustrators to the Northeast Children's Literature Collections. The collections, of more than 14,000 classic and modern children's books, and a growing archive of original art and manuscript materials from contemporary authors and illustrators, are a component of the Archives and Special Collections department.

The new works will be displayed at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center until the end of the year.

"These additions round out the collections," says Billie Levy, who founded the collections in 1985, "because they encompass different approaches that people use to complete their work." The new materials include wood engravings by Barry Moser and scratch board art by Leonard Everett Fisher.

"Hopefully the public will appreciate the beauty and the work that go into children's books," Levy says. "The display takes you through the process that the authors and illustrators had to go through to produce these books."

Much of this material in the earlier days was lost, she says. "People did not think anything of it."

The Dodd Center archives, which have temperature and humidity controls, reading room space and space to exhibit materials, have had an impact in attracting authors and illustrators to submit their work since opening two years ago, says Thomas Wilsted, director of the center.

He says the Northeast Children's Literature Collections document the cultural history of Connecticut since the mid-19th century. "By preserving historical collections, people have an opportunity to examine American culture and its evolution," he says.

"Although children's books and literature are often seen only as entertainment, they reflect changing societal views on issues such as race, gender, and different aspects of our multicultural community. Looking at children's literature provides yet another window into the American past that is available to students, scholars and members of the public who use the collection or see the materials on exhibit."

Authors and illustrators whose work is on display are:

  • Leonard Everett Fisher. A non-fiction and fiction author who has written more than 80 books, Fisher has also illustrated more than 250 books. The exhibit includes his Pyramid of the Sun and Little Frog's Song.

  • James Flora. Flora has written and illustrated 18 books. His first book, The Fabulous Fireworks Family, published in 1955, grew out of his experiences traveling in Mexico.

  • Gerald Hausman. His books, including Turtle Island ABC: A Gathering of Native American Symbols, feature Native American mythology.

  • Nonny Hogrogian. Two-time Caldecott Medal winner for Always Room for One More and One Fine Day, Hogrogian has authored or illustrated more than 70 books.

  • Loretta Krupinski. Author/illustrator of 15 children's books. The display includes Krupinski's Bluewater Journal: The Voyage of the Sea Tiger.

  • Barry Moser. Author, book designer and illustrator Moser and his daughter Cara illustrated Turtle Island ABC and Eagle Boy by Gerald Hausman.

  • Robert Parker. Illustrator of several children's books, including Aunt Skelly and the Stranger by Kathleen Stevens.

  • Marc Simont. Simont has written or illustrated more than 100 children's books, including A Tree Is Nice, written by Janice May Udry, for which he won the Caldecott Award in 1957.

  • Jos. A. Smith. Smith, an illustrator, has won numerous awards for his work. Several items from Runnery Granary by Nancy Farmer, illustrated by Smith, are on display.

  • Cyndy Szekeres. Szekeres focuses on animals with human characteristics. To date, more than 13 million copies of her books have been sold. Materials from Maybe, A Mole by Julia Cunningham, illustrated by Szekeres, are in the exhibit.

  • Ed Young. Born and raised in China, Young cites the philosophy of Chinese painting - where words and drawings complement one another - as his inspiration. During the past 30 years, Young has both written and illustrated most of his work, including the award-winning Lon Po Po: a Red Riding Hood Story from China.

  • Jean Day Zallinger. Zallinger won the 1990 National Association of Science Teachers/Children's Book Council's Outstanding Science Trade Book award, and the Library of Congress Children's Literary Center Notable Book award, for her work as illustrator of The Book of Eagles by Helen Roney Sattler.

Luis Mocete