Press Contact: Jeanne Smith (202) 707-4337
Public Contact: Children's Literature Center (202) 707-5535
May 1, 1995
Library of Congress Exhibition Features Work of Children's Author/Illustrator Vera Williams
The work of award-winning children's author and illustrator Vera B. Williams is featured in a new exhibition at the Library of Congress. Opening May 1 in the sixth floor central foyer of the Library's James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., the exhibition includes 50 drawings, sketches, and paintings created by Ms. Williams mostly for her books for children and for her "Long Walks and Intimate Talks", a collection of poetry for adults.
The artist and author was honored by the Library's Children's Literature Center on April 28 as it celebrated International Children's Book Day, marked each spring throughout the world to commemorate the birthday of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Guests at the April 28 event, supported by a grant from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, were given a preview of the exhibition of Ms. Williams's work.
On display in "Family, Friends, and Community: The Art of Vera B. Williams" are the artist's 3-foot-wide signature, with letters 24 inches high, created especially for the Library's exhibition, and a selection of drawings and paintings for "A Chair for My Mother", "Cherries and Cherry Pits", "Something Special for Me", and "Music, Music for Everyone". Also included are a selection of sketches, drawings, paintings, and other art created in many stages for "Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea" and illustrations for several other books along with four original paintings not appearing in books. All the items are from the artist's collection.
Ms. Williams was born in Hollywood and grew up in New York City, where, while still in high school, she created her first children's book, telling a story about a banana large enough to feed an entire family. She studied art at Black Mountain School, Black Mountain, N.C., and continued to paint and draw during years as a teacher, homemaker, and community activist.
Her career as an author and illustrator of children's books began in 1975 and has brought her many honors, including the Caldecott Honor Medal from the American Library Association, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and the "Boston Globe-Horn Book" Award for illustration. Her books have appeared in the "New York Times Choice of Best Illustrated Books of the Year".
Hours for the exhibition, which continues through July 14, are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It was produced by the Library's Interpretive Programs Office in cooperation with the Children's Literature Center.
The Library's Children's Literature Center was founded in 1963 to provide reference and bibliographic assistance to children's book authors and illustrators, publishers, librarians and scholars and to encourage recognition of excellence in literature for children. While offering no programs that serve children directly, the center's reference service, publications, and programs provide benefits to professionals who work in children's literature, and these are passed along to young readers.
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