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The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and R. Michelson Galleries have got us covered

The weekend before last, my younger son and I had a splendid time visiting the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and attending the opening reception of the R. Michelson Galleries 34th Annual Children’s Illustration Celebration. We arrived at the Carle just too late to see the Telling Tales & Painting Pictures: Writing and Illustrating Jewish Children's Books panel, but spent time with Environmental Eric Carle and the Picturing Home display in the Reading Library along with the awesome Art Studio and gift shop (natch).

The mane (yup) part of our visit was with Horse Tales: Galloping into Children’s Books. I’m not particularly a horse person, but the art on display was captivating and varied. Among the pieces was Kadir Nelson's "Prideland," created for the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine cover. It's a takeoff of the Caldecott Medal, and was placed in the exhibit near Simms Taback’s actual Caldecott Medal (for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, also on display) and Randolph Caldecott's work. I’d previously seen the Nelson at the Norman Rockwell Museum last summer, and it was a thrill to come across it in person again.

This was not the only example of glorious Horn Book cover art we were able to see that day! The R. Michelson Galleries exhibit features Bryan Collier’s radiant and larger-than-life original artwork, "Community Time Line," for the May/June 2023: Special Issue: Diverse Books: Past, Present, and Future, along with Jason Chin's July/August 2022 ALA-themed cover and Jarrett J. Krosoczka's May/June 2020 "Rule Breaker." A print of Grace Lin's incredible Newbery centennial cover (May/June 2022) at the Carle gift shop plus our current November/December 2023 issue (art by Erin K. Robinson) for sale there put my total at six (and really six-and-a-half if we're counting different art from the same Micha Archer/Patricia MacLachlan book)! 

"Randolph Caldecott was The Horn Book Magazine‘s first — and for decades only — cover artist. Then in 1985 another picture book master, Maurice Sendak, took over the task for a few issues, leading the way for a whole new crop of talented contributors..." You can peruse our virtual cover gallery here and let us know some of your favorites. We’re planning a just-for-fun March Madness-style Horn Book cover bracket contest as part of the 2024 centennial celebration and seeking input on picks!

Thanks again to Courtney Waring, at the Carle, and Cathie Mercier, of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University, for the museum visit; and to Rich Michelson for a superb exhibit, a great party, and his HB100 shout-out! A visit to both places is absolutely worth the trip. 

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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