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We Art Boston

Moved by the terrible events of the Boston Marathon bombing, Boston-based author/illustrator Joe McKendry and his wife Susan founded charitable organization We Art Boston. Joe writes,

It started with the marathon, of course. I wasn’t at the site. I didn’t even get down to Boylston until a few weeks later. But in the days following the event, I knew something had shifted in the air, and in me. What had happened felt personal, as I know it did to so many others….We were anxious to find a way to help. As an artist, my first thought was to auction off a few paintings I’d created during the making of my first book, Beneath the Streets of Boston, and send the proceeds to the One Fund. But if I wanted to get involved, I thought, perhaps others would, too. I reached out to a few other children’s book author/illustrators — David Macaulay, Matt Tavares, and Chris Raschka — to gauge interest in putting together a small collection of original art to be auctioned. Not only did every single one say yes, without hesitation, but they were so enthusiastic that they offered to help solicit donations from other illustrators as well.

Joe and over fifty other children’s book illustrators have donated their original art for the organization to auction online, with all proceeds to benefit the Emergency and Trauma Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital. The lineup of illustrators involved — including several Caldecott Medalists and honorees — is astounding: Ian Falconer, Oliver Jeffers, Beth Krommes, Grace Lin, Barbara McClintock, Kelly Murphy, Peter H. Reynolds, Bob Staake, Melissa Sweet, and Mo Willems, to name just a few. Many of the illustrations feature Boston scenes.

The online auction opens today and runs through October 24th (so hurry!). A family-oriented event will be held at the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Sunday, October 20th, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

This is a rare opportunity for children’s literature lovers everywhere — not only can you bring home an original piece of art by a beloved illustrator, you can also help Boston, a city instrumental in the history of children’s books, to recover from this tragedy.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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