If you love children’s books like I do, then Abilene is a MUST stop destination on your travels through Texas. I’m fortunate enough to be a 3 hour drive away. The Mr. and I decided to take our girls on a little day trip for Spring Break. (Honestly, I REALLY wanted to visit the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.)
The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) collaborates with award-winning illustrators to create exhibits of their work. After debuting at the NCCIL, the exhibits then travel to museums, libraries, and galleries nationwide. The mission of NCCIL is to exhibit, tour, collect, preserve and promote original art from the finest children’s literature thereby inspiring and empowering children to read and be creative.
Lightning struck when William Joyce set his children’s book Santa Calls in Abilene, which led to a chance meeting and an immediate friendship between the he and the Mayor and the NCCIL was born.
I love what Joyce had to say about it…
You know sometimes luck, fate, chance—whatever you want to call it—shines down so bright it makes life seem like something from a storybook.
That’s how it happened for me and the city of Abilene. By chance I set my book Santa Calls there. The main character’s name was Art Atchinson Aimesworth and I wanted him to wear a cowboy hat. So obviously he couldn’t be from New Jersey or Boca Raton. Abilene, Texas fit like a four Beaver Stetson. It sounded just right.
Of course I’d never actually been to Abilene. I don’t often visit the places I write about. Not the North Pole, or Mars or the Lost City of Atlantis. How was I supposed to know Abilene was a city of cock-eyed optimists and dreamers. The book had been out for about two weeks when I got a call from the Mayor. The next thing I know they’d built a museum, and erected a statue of my characters.
The NCCIL is a great achievement. They put art and literature on a pedestal there. They’ve made life more vivid and dreams come more alive for countless children and grown-ups.
Things like that don’t happen in real life very often.
Currently on display is the artwork of James E. Ransome. The exhibit is titled Everyday People. His work is saturated with vibrant colors that bring life to his pictures. I particularly enjoyed seeing large prints from This is the Rope.
Visit his website to see this talented artist’s work. I love his use of colors to evoke a mood or feeling.
Make sure to stop by for my next post where we go on a storybook scavenger hunt through Abilene!