Collection of acclaimed author and children’s book illustrator comes to UofSC
By Megan Sexton, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-1421
Anita Lobel, the acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books, has earned many awards and accolades in her life, including a Caldecott Honor Medal for illustrations and a National Book Award nomination for her childhood memoir, “No Pretty Pictures.” That memoir recounts her experiences as a Jewish child living in Poland during World War II, and includes going into hiding at age 5 and later being captured and sent to a concentration camp.
On Nov. 17, Lobel will be honored at the University of South Carolina by the Ex Libris Society where she will be presented with the Thomas Cooper Society Medal in recognition of her contribution to the arts. The award has been given to authors such as Pat Conroy, Joyce Carol Oates, Henry Louis Gates, Ray Bradbury and Elmore Leonard. The dinner is open to the public, with reservations required by Nov. 11.
“Ms. Lobel has an incredible sense of joy in spite of all the horrible things she witnessed as a child,” says Elizabeth Sudduth, director of Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The joy comes through in Lobel’s bright and intricate illustrations, which have also been featured in museums and galleries as artworks in their own right. Lobel’s books have appeared on The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list.
Now, these illustrations – along with original artwork, manuscripts, storyboards and papers -- have found a permanent home at the University of South Carolina Libraries. Pieces from the collection, which dates to the start of her career in 1965 when she illustrated “Sven’s Bridge,” will be on display in the university’s Hollings Special Collection Library, starting Nov. 7.
Lobel will donate her collection to the university in honor of Ginger Shuler and Leslie Tetreault, librarians at Richland Library and alumni of the School of Library and Information Science at Carolina. Lobel, who lives in New York City, first visited Columbia for the Augusta Baker’s Dozen storytelling festival at the Richland Library about 30 years ago. That began the decades-long friendship among Lobel, Shuler and Tetreault, inspiring Lobel to donate her archives to their alma mater.
“My relationship with the university is a new one; all those years it was with the public library,” Lobel says. “Then I gave a talk at the university, and that is when I toured the archives. It is so impressive, and I am very pleased to be housed in such a nice place.”
While University of South Carolina Libraries has many manuscripts and archived materials of children’s literature, the Lobel collection marks the first comprehensive archive of a children’s author and illustrator at Carolina, Sudduth said.
“It’s such an honor to have a prominent and well-known author and illustrator choose to put her collection here,” Sudduth said. “What’s great is we have all the sketches and original pages for “Sven’s Bridge,” her first book. And all of her work will eventually be here.”
About the dinner
Anita Lobel, award winning author and illustrator of children’s books, will be the guest of honor at the University of South Carolina Libraries’ Ex Libris Society annual dinner Nov. 17. At the dinner, Lobel will receive the Thomas Cooper Society Medal, presented in recognition of her contribution to the arts.
The Ex Libris Society dinner with Anita Lobel is open to the public. Tickets are $50 per person, and reservations must be received by Nov. 11. Reservation information is available here.
For more information and questions about the dinner, call 803-777-0546.
About the exhibit
Works from the Anita Lobel Collection, Given in Honor of Ginger Shuler and Leslie Tetreault will be on exhibit at the University of South Carolina's Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library starting Nov. 7 and running until March 2017. Lobel, award winning author and illustrator of children’s books, recently donated a large collection to the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, consisting of original artwork, working drafts and galley proofs of her picture books.
Lobel’s books have appeared on The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list. She received a Caldecott Honor Medal, and book “No Pretty Pictures,” a memoir of her childhood in World War II Poland, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Lobel selected Carolina because of the Irvin Department’s experience with special collections, the strength of the USC School of Library of Information Science and the university’s children’s literature programs.
The Hollings Library is free and open to the public 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays.
The library, which is accessible through the Thomas Cooper Library, will host a special
Saturday open gallery on Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about
the exhibit, call 803-777-8240.
About Anita Lobel
Anita Lobel was born into a Jewish family in Krakow, Poland in 1934. Along with her brother, she avoided capture by the Nazis until 1944. After being sent to a series of concentration camps, they were rescued by the Swedish Red Cross in 1945. Two years later, they were reunited with their parents in Stockholm.
Her childhood memoir, “No Pretty Pictures,” was nominated for the National Book Award. It recounts her childhood experiences as a Jewish child living in Poland during World War II.
At age 12, Lobel attended school for the first time. She was encouraged to study visual arts, music, literature and languages. There, an art teacher discovered her artistic talent. Lobel’s family moved to New York City soon after. At high school in America, Lobel met another art teacher who nurtured her painting and drawing abilities. She built a portfolio of work, which led to a scholarship at Pratt Institute, which led to new friendships, marriage to a fellow art student, home, children, hard work and a satisfying career.
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