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Muriel Pfaelzer Bodek Fund for Library Public Events

Creating Children's Books Symposium

Collaboration and Change
A symposium in honor of William Steig and Atha Tehon
  • Schedule & speakers
  • Symposium videos
  • Exhibition: As the Ink Flows
  • Exhibition: School of Atha

Friday, October 17 - Saturday, October 18, 2014

William Steig, Untitled ink drawing, Steig Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

The symposium, Creating Children's Books: Collaboration and Change, will take place in conjunction with two fall exhibitions in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. The first of these exhibitions, As the Ink Flows: Works from the Pen of William Steig, explores the life and career of the artist, cartoonist, and children's book author/illustrator William Steig, while the second, The School of Atha: Collaboration in the Making of Children's Books, celebrates the life and work of Atha Tehon, children's book designer and longstanding Art Director for Dial Books for Young Readers. The symposium is sponsored by the Muriel Pfaelzer Bodek Fund for Library Public Events of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries with additional funding from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Creating Children's Books: Collaboration and Change honors the contributions of these two important figures to the world of children's literature during late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries. It will explore the creation of children's books from both the writer/illustrator and designer/publisher perspectives, looking at the role of collaboration in the process and considering the future of children's books from various perspectives, including that of diversity. Atha Tehon worked closely with the renowned editor and publisher Phyllis Fogelman, both of whom championed the work of African-American and Native American authors and illustrators, among others.

The symposium is sponsored by the Muriel Pfaelzer Bodek Fund for Library Public Events of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries with additional funding from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

For questions and queries, contact Lynne Farrington, Curator of Printed Books, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts (lynne@upenn.edu; 215-746-5828).


Free and open to the public (please show photo ID at entrance)

October 17 -18, 2014

Schedule & speakers

Speakers
Confirmed speakers for this symposium include the children's book historian and critic Leonard Marcus; children's book author/illustrators Matt Phelan, Jerry Pinkney, and Judy Schachner; children's book illustrators Harry Bliss and Richard Egielski; pop-up book author/artist Robert Sabuda; Wesley Adams, Executive Editor, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, McMillan Children's Publishing Group; Holly McGhee, former children's book editor, and currently Creative Director of Pippins Properties, an agency devoted primarily to picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels; Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Lily Malcom, Executive Art Director & Associate Publisher, and Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers at Penguin Young Readers Group; and Deborah Taylor, Coordinator, School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore.
  • Preliminary schedule


    Friday, October 17, 2014

    1-3 pm: Pre-symposium Workshop: Evaluating Children's Picture Books
    Workshop registration is now full. We are no longer accepting registration for the workshop

    This workshop on evaluating children's picture books will be led by Elizabeth Van Doren, publisher and editor of children's books who teaches in the creative writing program at Penn; Leonard Marcus, critic and historian of children's literature; Sara Reynolds, teaching artist and book design consultant for Behind the Book and former Vice President and Art Director of Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Young Readers Group; and Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, assistant professor of literacy and literature for children and young adults in Penn's Graduate School of Education. They will approach the evaluation of children's picture books from their different perspectives. This workshop is intended for anyone with an interest in how to approach these works critically, whether as a teacher, a parent, or an author/artist. Workshop attendees will be asked to apply the ideas and considerations discussed in the workshop to evaluate particular children's picture books and then present briefly on their findings at the end of the session.

    4-5:15 pm: Welcome and Introductions

    Keynote address: Leonard S. Marcus

    Leonard S. Marcus, children’s literature historian and critic, and author of many highly acclaimed books, including Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators (2012) and Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature (2008)

    5:15-6:30 pm: Remembering William Steig and Atha Tehon

    6:30-8 pm: Opening reception for attendees

     

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    8:30 am: Registration

    8:45 am: Welcome

    9-10:30 am: Session 1: Creating Children’s Books (authors/illustrators)

    Andrea Immel, moderator

    Harry Bliss, Children's book illustrator and cartoonist

    Richard Egielski, Children's book author and illustrator

    Matt Phelan, Children's book author and illustrator

    Robert Sabuda, Children's book author, illustrator, and pop-up book artist

    10:30-11 am: Coffee break

    11 am-12:30 pm: Session 2: The Role of Collaboration (publishers/agents/etc.)

    Lynne Farrington, moderator

    Wesley Adams, Executive Editor, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, McMillan Children's Publishing Group

    Lily Malcom, Executive Art Director & Associate Publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers

    Holly McGhee, Creative Director, Pippin Properties, Inc.

    12:30-2 pm: Lunch (on your own)

    2-3:30 pm: Session 3: Diversity in Children’s Books

    Ebony Thomas, moderator

    Jerry Pinkney, Children's book author and illustrator

    Deborah Taylor, Coordinator, School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

    3:30-4 pm: Coffee break

    4-5:30 pm: Session 4: The Future of Children’s Books

    Leonard Marcus, moderator

    Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers

    Judy Schachner, Children's book author and illustrator

    Laurent Linn, Art Director, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    5:30-6 pm: Closing Remarks

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October 17 -18, 2014

Videos and papers

  • Friday, October 17, 2015

    Note: Due to a glitch with the audio, we do not have the video of Friday's session. However, we did ask presenters to send us their remarks,
    and we have here, in the PDF format, the remarks of those who responded to this request.

    Keynote Address
    Leonard S. Marcus, "An Art in the Making: The American Picture Book Comes of Age" (PDF)

    "Remembering William Steig and Atha Tehon"
    The session began with short clips from the following two videos: Getting to Know William Steig and A Visit with Rosemary Wells.

    Next, the speakers, in order of presentation:
    Rosemary Wells (remarks read by Leonard Marcus),
    Steven Kellogg (remarks read by Lynne Farrington) (PDF),
    Susan Jeffers (remarks read by Lynne Farrington) (PDF)
    Susan Tehon
    Robert Sabuda  (PDF)
    Sara Reynolds, (PDF)
    Jerry Pinkney, Harry Bliss, Nancy Leo Kelly, Jeanne Steig, Holly McGhee.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014

    Session 1.  Authors / Illustrators. Andrea Immel (moderator), Matt Phelan, Robert Sabuda, Richard Egielski, Harry Bliss.

    Session 2. The Role of Collaboration - Publishers / Agents, etc. Lynne Farrington (moderator), Wesley Adams, Lily Malcolm, Holly McGhee.

    Session 3. Diversity in Children's Books. Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (moderator), Jerry Pinkney, Deborah Taylor.

    Session 4. The Future of Children's Books. Leonard Marcus (moderator), Lauri Hornik, Laurent Linn, Judy Schachner.

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As the Ink Flows

Works from the Pen of William Steig

William Steig, Untitled ink drawing of an artist doodling, Steig Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

 

As the Ink Flows: Works from the Pen of William Steig, explores the life and career of the artist, cartoonist, and children's book author/illustrator William Steig. The exhibition highlights materials from the recent gift of over 2,500 original drawings, notebooks and scrapbooks, correspondence, books, posters, and other materials made by Jeanne Steig, his widow, to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, supplemented with loans from his family.

Pen and ink played a central role in William Steig's life, from childhood on. Interestingly, for someone who would become an important artist and gifted cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, it was writing, not drawing that was his first creative outlet. The exhibition explores this world of pen and ink, of writing and drawing, to show how intertwined these activities were for William Steig, who became an author as well as an artist. Unlike many artists, who are not great readers, Steig consumed books, and the ideas they contained. The more one considers the range of his work, the more one can see that his artistry is ultimately informed by language, that is, by ideas that can be thought and written, and then translated into images.

The exhibition will examine the trajectory of Steig's career, from his family background and youth through his cartoons and covers for The New Yorker and other publications, to his books of symbolic drawings and his later work, culminating in his children's books.
 

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September 8, 2014 - March 27, 2015

The School of Atha

Collaboration in the Making of Children's Books

Detail of original watercolor and ink illustration for Richard Egielski's Bravo, Minski ca. 1988, Atha Tehon Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

 

The School of Atha: Collaboration in the Making of Children's Books, celebrates the life and work of children's book designer and art director Atha Tehon. The exhibition is based on the collection of her books and papers, including files on books she designed as a freelance book designer, recently given to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries by her niece Susan Tehon, supplemented with loans from her family.

After receiving her Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania / Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tehon began working in book publishing, first at Random House and then as a book designer, art director, and associate publisher at Dial Books for Younger Readers, where she worked closely with many of the major artists and authors in the field, including Leo and Diane Dillon, Tom Feelings, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Julius Lester, James Marshall, Jerry Pinkney, and Rosemary Wells. Two of the books she designed, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, both illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, won the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and 1977. At the same time, she continued to do freelance design work for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, working with the children's book editor Michael di Capua on books by Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Richard Egielski, Randall Jarrell, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Harve and Margot Zemach, among others.

The exhibition will explore her role not only in the creation of so many important children's books but also in mentoring a new generation of editors and designers in the collaborative process of creating children's books.

Image: Richard Egieski, detail of original watercolor and ink illustration for Bravo, Minski (ca. 1988), Atha Tehon Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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