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St. Nick and me, sculpture by Steve Neves after William Joyce, photo by Richard Asch

What a wonderful time Richard and I had in Abilene! We were at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (still jeez to the name, but I did learn its acronym is pronounced nickel and not encil) to see a wonderful show, and quite a haul of original art from Coretta Scott King Award winners and honors. Curated by (former) executive director Debbie Lillick and (former) exhibits and programming director Sujata Shahane, the exhibit was beautifully presented, each piece accompanied by an informative note and (gross) a QR code that led the viewer to some (interesting) tidbit at TeachingBooks.net. NCCIL is planning to tour the show, although, as a couple of my parenthetical asides above would indicate, it is undergoing some internal tumult, so what will happen when and where is anyone’s guess.

Jerry Pinkney and Sujata Shahane, photo by Richard Asch

Jerry and Gloria Jean Pinkney were the guests of honor at NCCIL’s annual fundraising gala, and Jerry gave an affable presentation of his work and history (he used to work in my hometown, Dedham, MA!). Other guests included Nick Clark (whose article about Ashley Bryan’s wartime art is in the upcoming May/June issue of the Magazine), Lynda Bird Johnson Robb (whose story-over-lunch about Barbara Bush at Lady Bird’s funeral was both sweet and hilarious), and Diane Johnson-Feelings and Nancy Tolson from the University of South Carolina (both of whom I hope to have convinced to contribute to our 2019 special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the CSK Awards). Many thanks to Sujata and Debbie and Becky Rawls McDonald for making us feel so welcome and, oh my God, you have no idea, well fed.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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  1. Jane Varner Beard says:

    Thanks so very much for coming to the NCCIL. It is true treasure and all of us in Abilene are very proud of it. As one of the primary funders of the NCCIL since it’s founding, I can assure you that the NCCIL is well and thriving. We are very excited about the future of the NCCIL and are confident that the new executive director, Trish Dressen, is the perfect person to take the organization to the next level. Trish is experienced, talented and enthusiastic and is devoted to the mission of the NCCIL. I hope you’ll come back for our Children’s Art and Literature Festival (the “Calf”) in June. It’s wonderful to see 5,000 children engaged in the joy of reading! https://www.abilenecac.org/calf/
    Jane Varner Beard
    Grants Administrator, Dian Graves Owen Foundation
    Abilene, Texas

  2. I visited this museum a few years ago when they had their magnificent Walter Wick exhibit. This place is a real treasure and worth the drive. (And while you’re out there, check out the Buffalo Gap ghost town museum!)

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