EILEEN CHRISTELOW

Eileen Christelow (b. 1943) is the author and Illustrator of many popular picture books for children. Best known is her series about the Five Little Monkeys, starting with her retelling of the classic nursery rhyme that begins "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."

Eileen was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up there and in Connecticut. She attended high school in Japan and in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961 where she studied architecture and learned the basic principles of design which would inform her later work in photography, graphic design, and illustration.

She worked as a freelance photographer and graphic designer in both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Berkeley, California. She also lived for a year in Cornwall, England while her husband was apprenticing to potter, Michael Cardew. Her daughter, Heather, was born that year. She currently lives with her husband and pets in Vermont, near where she spent summers on her grandparents’ farm. Her adult daughter lives in Chicago.

Vote! 
Written and illustrated by Eileen Christelow

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Using a town’s mayoral election as a model, this lively introduction to voting covers every step in the process from the start of the campaign all the way to the voting booth. There’s even a recount! The cast of characters includes two dogs (and a cat), whose questions and comments mirror those of young readers and help to explain some of an election’s more confusing aspects.

Told with clarity and wit in Eileen’s signature comic-book style and vetted by an expert in voter education, this look at how we choose our leaders turns an often daunting topic into an exciting narrative. Who would have guessed that learning about voting could be so much fun?

The Illustrator’s Childhood Memories:

As a child, Eileen’s favorite time was always storytime when her parents read books to her. Her most dreaded punishment for misbehaving was losing storytime. After she learned how to read on her own, you would rarely find her without a book. She was reading chapter books by second grade, and by third grade could not read enough. She once proclaimed that when she grew up she wanted “to run a dog orphanage, be a doctor, an architect, an illustrator, or be an author.” Lucky for us she became the last two.


MARLA FRAZEE

Marla Frazee (b. 1958) grew up in Los Angeles and attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, graduating in 1981. While illustrating numerous books, she has raised three sons, hosts a Little Free Library in her front yard, and keeps a busy studio in her backyard under an avocado tree.

Marla has illustrated (and written) an impressive number of books, one being Hillary Rodham Clinton’s It Takes a Village: Picture Book. She illustrated two Caldecott Honor award winners, All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (which she also wrote). She has won the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for The Farmer and the Clown and numerous other book awards.

In 2006, Marla illustrated Clementine, a series of chapter books written by Sara Pennypacker. Some of her original illustrations from that book are displayed in this exhibition. Marla used pen and ink drawings to make the story of an overly-active and imaginative third-grader come to life. Marla’s witty, thoughtful drawings of Clementine harken back to older styles of illustration, yet remain contemporary.

The Talented Clementine
Written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee

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When it comes to tackling third grade, Clementine is at the top of her game most of the time. When her teacher announces that the third and fourth graders will be putting on a talent show, Clementine panics. She doesn't sing or dance or play an instrument. She can't even hop with finesse. And as if she didn't feel bad enough, her perfect best friend, Margaret, has so many talents, she has to alphabetize them to keep them straight. As the night of the big "Talent-Palooza" draws closer, Clementine is desperate for an act, any act. But the unexpected talent she demonstrates at the show surprises everyone—most of all herself.

The Illustrator’s Childhood Memories:

Back in third grade, Marla realized that she wanted to be an illustrator. She wanted to capture the magic she saw in books like Where the Wild Things Are and Blueberries for Sal—the magic of how an illustration could tell a story. In her third grade classroom, Marla and a friend created a book together with Marla as illustrator and her friend as writer. It was called The Friendship Circle and ended up winning an award in a state fair competition. She and her friend created a duplicate copy that was kept in their school library. It was Marla's first book.


 

STÉPHANE JORISCH

Stéphane Jorisch (b. 1956) has been illustrating for many years “because,” he says, “I could not do much else besides draw….”

Stéphane was born in Belgium, and he spent his childhood in Lachine, Québec on the St. Lawrence River. He grew up in a family of art collectors and artists. His father was Georges Jorisch, an illustrator of European comic strips. He introduced his son to illustrative art when he was very young.

After completing degrees in graphic and industrial design, he earned a living doing architectural drawings while continuing to do illustration projects on the side. Once his full-time career built around his passion for bringing children’s literature to life was established, he hasn’t stopped creating books for children, having illustrated over 80 books. Stéphane has been awarded many literary honors. He currently lives in Montréal with his wife and their three children, continuing to illustrate children’s literature, occasionally illustrating for Cirque-du-Soleil, and curating two art collections.

Most of his work is produced in watercolor, gouache, and pen and ink. He prefers to create his imagery from his imagination and memory rather than relying on reference materials.

The Real Story of Stone Soup
Written by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

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A stingy fisherman always makes his three young helpers do all his work. One day he scolds the “lazy boys” for forgetting to provide lunch. “Don’t worry,” they say. “We can make stone soup.” The boys dig a hole and fill it with water and “flavored” stones. They trick the fisherman into making bowls and chopsticks and fetching salt and sesame oil. While he’s busy, they stir in bird eggs, add wild vegetables, and slip fish into the soup. By the time the old man returns, they have a feast fit for a king. To this day, egg drop stone soup is a traditional dish in southeast China.

The Illustrator’s Childhood Memories:

Stéphane has been drawing for as long as he can remember. At school, he constantly drew in the margins of his notebooks, and his friends always wanted to see more. As a child, he often turned to adventure stories in order to conjure imaginative inspiration for his drawings. Growing up by a river, he spent much of his time on the water, whiling away the hours in daydreams that later inspired his art. Because of Stéphane’s early interest in stories and his talent at drawing, his artist father influenced and motivated him to be an illustrator.


EMILY ARNOLD MCCULLY

Emily Arnold McCully (b. 1939) was born in Galesburg, Illinois. When she was five, her family moved to Garden City, Long Island, outside of New York City. Emily attended Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University. While at Pembrook, she acted and co-wrote a musical. “A play is very much like a picture book: you select a cast, create costumes and set, then arrange the scenes, building to a climax. I was preparing for my later career without knowing it.”

After college, she worked at an advertising agency in New York City and spent her time off writing short stories and drawing pictures. She went back to school at Columbia University and earned a masters in art history. She then kept her focus on writing, drawing, and acting, getting small illustration jobs which led to work as a children’s book illustrator in 1966. She has since published short stories, several novels, and many more illustrated children’s books. Among other awards and honors, Emily received the Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire and an honorary doctorate from Brown University. As an actor, she has performed in Equity productions in Albany and in New York City.

Nora’s Ark
Written by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

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A flood is coming! When the water climbs to the rooftops, where will everyone go? To Grandma's house, of course, high up on a hill. Before long, the house is full of people, chickens, ducks, pigs, horses, cats, and even a cow. There's only one person missing—Grandpa! The story is based on the Vermont Flood of 1927, and Emily’s illustrations capture the sweeping drama of the flood and the comfort of a cozy kitchen filled with friends, neighbors, and good cheer.

The Illustrator’s Childhood Memories:

“I never dreamed that I would be a children's book author when I was young, but it turns out that I was preparing myself to be just that all along.”

Emily started to draw about the same time her mother taught her to read, at three to four years of age. She loved to read and began thinking of the world in terms of stories. She also loved to explore with her younger sister who was a great playmate and co-conspirator. Together they built forts and stick villages. Emily kept a nature notebook and began illustrating radio programs and her favorite stories throughout her childhood.

“I tried to draw what I was looking at, the best way to train eye, brain, and hand, and the best way to really see things. My mother told me to practice. I did. Practicing made my drawing better, made my reading better, and eventually my bike-riding, tree climbing, throwing, catching, and running better.”


 

BILL SLAVIN

Bill Slavin (b. 1959) was the second youngest of eight children, which he says is why he got to become an artist. “Most of my elder brothers and sisters had achieved some sort of academic success, I was allowed to become an artist.”

Bill grew up in Belleville in Southern Ontario, Canada and attended Sheridan College in Oakville, not far from Toronto. Because of events in his life, he left school early and worked undemanding jobs while churning out countless unsolicited and unpublished comics, stories, and illustrations. Since 1979, he has worked in the publishing industry as art director/ illustrator/layout artist, eventually getting work as an illustrator (and sometimes as a writer) of children’s books. It is what he always wanted to do. He now happily lives and shares a studio with his wife, artist Esperança Melo, and their cat Merlin in an old farmhouse on the outskirts of Millbrook, Ontario where he works as a full time illustrator.

All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine
Written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Bill Slavin

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This book presents the life of an extraordinary man. There were few opportunities for a son of slaves, but Elijah McCoy's dreams led him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. He learned everything there was to know about engines—how to design them and how to build them. But when he returned to the United States to look for work at the Michigan Central Railroad, the only job Elijah could get was shoveling coal into a train's firebox. Undaunted, he went on to invent a means of oiling the engine while the train was running, changing the face of travel around the world.

The Illustrator’s Childhood Memories:

“I always date my career back to that day when, as a child, you pick up a crayon, look at that big blank wall in the house and think, “’That could use some color!’”     

Third grade was an especially important year for Bill for he had his first commercial success as an artist! He created an anti-smoking-in-bed poster and won first prize and $25. It was also the year he produced his first illustrated book, Zok the Caveman, followed by the sequel The Adventures of Black Cloud, Son of Zok. He continued to write and illustrate books throughout his school years, becoming interested in comic books in high school, even producing a short-lived comic strip called Rat Fink for his local village weekly.

“Never lose sight of your goal, no matter what other work you may do in your lifetime. Every step you take should be in the direction of what you wish to be, even if sometimes they seem to be side steps. If you want to illustrate, draw all the time; after school, in math class, in science class, just don't get caught!”