I was giddy Sunday as we drove into DC for the panel “Picture Books Through the Ages for All Ages” at Politics and Prose. The opportunity to hear such a stellar group of people passionate about picture books talk about them ALL in the same room made me quiver. The amazing bunch included Leonard Marcus, writer and historian about children’s books and illustration, as the moderator, and joining the discussion were Neal Porter, editorial director of Neal Porter Books (an imprint of Roaring Brook Press); authors Mac Barnett, Meg Medina and Jon Scieszka and author/illustrators Christopher Myers and Laura Vaccaro Seeger.
Leonard Marcus opened, speaking about his ongoing fascination with picture books, described them as stories told in two languages, literature and art, with a third language formed by putting the first two together in your mind. Yes. Leonard’s moderating was masterful as he directed questions, added commentary, and made sure everyone had time to speak. Many thoughtful, insightful, impassioned things were said; themes included digital, experimentation, diversity, gatekeepers, price and access. The group just sparked with synergy. There was lots of laughing. Everyone was interested in what others were saying and there was a feeling of camaraderie, rallying for what the picture book is and what it can be. The SRO crowd was heartening, clear evidence of picture book love.
You don’t have to take my word for the stupendousness of the gathering – a podcast will be available in a week or so; check here. I’ll put up a direct podcast link when I know it’s available.
Here are some photos of the day. Somehow I don’t have good photos of Mac Barnett or Neal Porter so I’ve included a group shot “borrowed” from Leaonard Marcus’ Facebook page.
Do you know about the Picture Book Proclamation? Mac Barnett penned the proclamation in 2011 and Carson Ellis illustrated it. Check the bottom of proclamation for the original “signers” including Jon Scieszka.