26 October 2004

Happy Birthday, Steven Kellogg!

Today is the birthday of the wonderful Steven Kellogg.

Not only has Mr. Kellogg created some of the most recognizable -- and well-loved -- art in picture books since 1967 but, maybe more importantly, he seems a genuinely Good Man with a big heart.

I was lucky enough to hear him speak a few years ago and I will never forget how passionately he spoke about children's picture books and the need to read with children. I *have*, apparently, forgotten the exact quote, but I remember him speaking about how a picture book forms a bridge between adult and child. Not just a figurative bridge, he said, but an actual, physical bridge -- as half the book rests on the adult lap, half on the child's -- that serves to strengthen the relationship. I thought that was one of the most true and lovely things I had ever heard. I still do.

One more anecdote. A few years back, I was lucky enough to work on an auction of old card catalogs. I contaced a number of children's authors, asking them to sign cards for their books. Steven Kellogg was one of the most gracious, illustrating all of the cards he signed. I wrote him a thank you note following the auction. Some time later, I was touched to receive a letter back from him, thanking me for all the work I do on behalf of children who visit libraries. That letter meant the world to me and remains one of my prize possessions.

So, God bless Steven Kellogg on his birthday and for many years to come!

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