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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:24 pm
In Memory: Leo Dillon and Ellen Levine
Posted by: Gillian Engberg

This week marks the deaths of two multiple-award-winning children’s book creators:  Leo Dillon and Ellen Levine . In this online space, we invite you to share your personal stories about Dillon and Levine and the impact that their books have made on you, on the young people in your lives, and on the field of children’s literature. Where did you first encounter their work? What happened the last time that you shared one of their titles with children?

And while we’re celebrating the lives and talents of Dillon and Levine, it seems appropriate, too, to celebrate those who are responsible for introducing their work to kids. Immediately after I learned about Dillon’s death, I thought of the Hazel Westgate, the late, legendary children’s librarian at the Iowa City Public Library, whose collection of children’s book art is still on view for the public. In 1976, Westgate read Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears aloud to me and my sister, and she cracked our small world open. We pored over the beautiful images, we asked to have the words read aloud again and again, and in the years that followed, we took almost all of Westgate’s suggestions and discovered a world of books that remain beloved titles today.

One Response to “In Memory: Leo Dillon and Ellen Levine”
  1. Andrew Medlar Says:

    I love thinking about how Mr. Dillon’s work has been a part of every stage of my reading and library life, which of course means my entire life. I reminisce about toddling around the children’s room of my local branch waiting for storytime as he and his masterful partner were racking up Caldecott medals (“Why Mosquitoes Buzz” on the new book shelf—those were good days!), am able to instantly visualize their cool and kinda scary cover on my beloved elementary school copy of “A Wrinkle in Time”, romantically recall how my college sci fi reading was enhanced by their perfect mood-setting cover art, remember graduate school discovery of the depth and beauty of their folklore illustrations, and annually sit in awe of their talent during mock Caldecott and CSK discussions with colleagues. Thank you for it all, sir!


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