Celebrating illustration in children’s books

Floyd Cooper speaking at the 15th Anniversary event for Reinberger Children’s Library Center on Nov. 1, 2018.

Erica Fowler

Three distinguished children’s book illustrators explained their creative processes to attendees at the 15-year anniversary of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center reception in the Student Center Ballroom on Thursday, Nov. 1. One of these illustrators included Floyd Cooper, who illustrated more than 96 published children’s books.

“I love people and I love illustrating people,” Cooper said. “I love it best when I make that little connection with the story and the art and the pictures. There’s something magical that happens there.”

Cooper, who is from Tulsa and attended the University of Oklahoma, is a four-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Honor and is the recipient of a dozen other awards. Will Hillenbrand and Chris Raschka are also award-winning illustrators who shared their perspectives and insights at the event.

“I really loved hearing all the illustrators talk about their process, about their work and even the live demonstration by Cooper was amazing,” said Haley Shaw, a graduate student in the library science program.

Shaw said she learned a lot about the time and research that comes with creating illustrations for children’s books. 

“There is so much that goes into it and it’s more than just pretty pictures and simple words,” Shaw said. “It’s a really cool field and I’m excited that I got to learn more about it.”

Shaw works in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center and said she enjoys immersing herself in such a fun environment.

“I’ve been working and learning about a whole new world of children’s book art and picture book art,” Shaw said. “It been a very good experience and I’ve gotten a lot of hands-on experience with event planning, exhibit design and learning about cataloging.”

The Reinberger Children’s Library Center also features the Marantz Picturebook Collection, which includes a collection of more than 25,000 picture books. The 15-year anniversary of the Marantz Picturebook Collection was also commemorated at the reception.

“(The Marantz Picturebook Collection) celebrates the art in a picture book − whether that’s your traditional picture book, a comic, a graphic novel or a pop-up − we celebrate the artist,” said Michelle Baldini, the director of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center.

The Reinberger Children’s Library Center and the Marantz Picturebook Collection is located on the third floor of the Kent State Library, although it is separate from the university library system.

“It’s wonderful to have these pieces of original artwork surround us and bring to life what we’ve seen in books for a long time,” said Kendra Albright, the director of the School of Information. “This is just an astounding feature that Kent State has.”

Erica Fowler is the Education, Health and Human Services reporter. Contact her at [email protected]