Monday, May 31, 2010

Picturing Canada by Gail Edwards & Judith Saltman

While I was in Vancouver I got a call from Ron Lightburn with some good news. Ron illustrated my first book, Waiting for the Whales, which is still in print after 19 years (note to self; plan party for the book's 20th anniversary in 2011). It seems an illustration of our book was one of two featured in a National Post article about a new book called Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children's Illustrated Books and Publishing by Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman.

In my mind, a book that documents the history of children's illustrated literature in Canada is long overdue and I'm thrilled that the book is finally out. The US, the UK, and Australia all have scholarly works documenting children's literature in their respective countries, and it's about time that we, here in Canada, acknowledged the contribution that the publishing industry and it's creators have made to our cultural growth. I recall being honored five or six years ago when Professor Judith Saltman arrived on my doorstep to interview me. We had tea, caught up on mutual friends and industry news, and shared titles of favorite books. She was both gracious and professional as she explained that mine would be one of dozens of interviews which would be integrated into her text and include: authors, illustrators, publishers and librarians and other professionals across the country. Her enthusiasm was contagious, but I admit that after a few years went by I forgot about her project. Now, after reading the National Post article, it has been rekindled. So, Picturing Canada will be on my list when I hit the bookstore next. I'm excited to read about Edwards' and Saltman's insights, and I'm curious about what my fellow creators and publishers had to say. Most of all, I'm thankful to be working in an industry that I continue to love after more than twenty years.

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