|Lucy Maude Montgomery|
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Portrait of a Librarian
Portrait of a Librarian
by Thea Green from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries by Molly MacRae
I love everything about books. I love reading them, buying them, lending them. I love what they do for a room and what they’ll do for the room between your ears. I love repairing books when they’ve been read too exuberantly by new readers or when they’ve become fragile after a long life of being read lovingly over and over and over. I also love quotations about books. Here are three of my favorites:
“I am simply a book drunkard.” ~ L.M. Montgomery
“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” ~ Carl Sagan
“Books! The best weapons in the world!” ~ Doctor Who
I especially love children’s books, and one of the best parts of my job is putting the right book into a child’s hands. Talk about working magic!
Last week I handed The Picture of Dorian Gray to Zach Aikens, a teenager who shows up at the library here in Blue Plum from time to time. The book isn’t new, but it was new to Zach. He thanked me, in a minimal way, and went on his way. Today he came back, admitted he liked the book, and then he asked an interesting question – out of any artist in the world, who would I want to paint my formal portrait? A formal portrait is not something I have ever wondered about. But I was unpacking a carton of new picture books at the time, and Zach’s question set me to thinking. So I asked him if I could change the question slightly, and then both of us answer it. He agreed with a minimal shrug. Here’s what I asked – out of any children’s book illustrator in the world, who would you choose for your formal portrait?
Zach’s been over in the picture book corner for the last hour, now, looking for his portraitist. He started out on his feet, flipping pages of random books. Ten minutes later he sat in one of the little chairs at the pint-sized table. Now he’s cross-legged on the floor reading Library Lion to a three-year-old who’s sitting next to him and a two-year-old who plopped down in his lap. It might be awhile before I hear his answer.
But what’s my answer? Hmm. Much as I like their books, probably not David Shannon with all those pointy teeth, or Lois Ehlert with her bright geometrics. What about Maurice Sendak? Or Garth Williams? I love their work. But I think, were I so lucky to have my portrait done by a children’s illustrator, I would choose Kadir Nelson. That man creates luminous pictures. His people shine. They’re heroic. Yeah, a formal portrait by Kadir Nelson. That would be sweet. I choose him. Or maybe Dr. Seuss.
How about you? Of any children’s book illustrator in the world, who would you choose to create your formal portrait?
Thea Green and the other characters in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries appeared most recently in DYEING WISHES. The series is available in mass market, e-book, and audio wherever books are sold. They return in SPINNING IN HER GRAVE coming out in March 2014 (now available for pre-order.)
Follow Molly MacRae on Facebook and Pinterest, or find her the first Monday of each month at Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts.