We were up bright and early to help them open the doors of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Of course we were an hour early so we took some time to tour Abilene.
Abilene Christian University has a sculpture called Jacobs Dream. The metal part of the sculpture is not very remarkable but he surrounding stones are another story. There are words chiseled into the stone and from different angles the stones form Bible verses. Unfortunately the shadow and light of iPhone pictures don’t reveal everything that can be seen to the naked eye. It was enjoyable seeking out all the imbedded phrases. The kids liked hopping from stone to stone.
Children’s book illustrator William Joyce said, “Children’s literature is the first literature and the first art that children are exposed to. It should be good. And when it is, it should be given respect.” The town celebrates this sentiment with the establishment of the Center, traveling exhibits and children’s book themed sculptures about town.
The current exhibit featured Lincoln Peirce, the author illustrator of one of Brody’s favorite book series, Big Nate. Brody immediately grabbed a book that he had not read and perused the tome. Many of the books have been signed by the illustrators. This weekend the center will be visits by author Mark Crilly – he is now important to us because he is responsible for the series – Brody’s Ghost.
If you are looking for a Christmas gift for a 3-5 year old we would like to recommend “Z is for Moose” by Kelly Bingham and Paul Zelinsky. Yes, it is an alphabet book but it had every member of our family cracking a smile – I would love to read this book to a little kid.
The bookstore had a favorite of ours: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. Van Allsburg is best known as the author of The Polar Express. This book is something entirely different and truly works any readers’ imagination. This is a recommend for any child who refuses to be contained by a predetermined story line and likes to make up their own fantastical tales.
Hopefully one day the Center will acquire another family favorite, “The Eleventh Hour” by Graeme Base. This gem is a fun story but the real treasure is solving a mystery. Each page has clues that are imbedded in the illustrations. If you know a child 7-13 who likes puzzles and hidden messages THIS book will win you their adoration.
May this help you with some of your Christmas shopping!