He’s from Winnipeg and he’s receiving an international award for his life time of work researching, critiquing, writing about, and creating children’s literature.
On November 12, I attended a distinguished lecture by Perry Nodelman a University of Winnipeg Professor Emeritus. Perry was being recognized by the university because he is the 2015 recipient of the Brothers Grimm Award presented by The International Institute for Children’s Literature. You can learn more about Perry’s long list of accomplishments in the field of children’s literature here.
Perry’s lecture last week traced the history of children’s picture books in a very personal way as Perry compared his own experiences with picture books as a child in the 1940s, with those of his children and grandchildren.
In 1998 Perry wrote a text about children’s picture books called Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books. It has never been out of print during the ensuing twenty seven years, a rarity for a university text. In his lecture Perry talked about how he might expand the ideas in Words About Pictures to address new developments in the world of children’s books if he was writing his text today.
Perry said he would need to write about the current popularity of comics and graphic novels. He would have to address the growing demand for more diversity in picture books so that children of different cultures, races, income levels and family arrangements would have their lives reflected in picture books. He would include books from other countries and he would examine picture book apps and e-books.
It was clear from the former colleagues of Perry’s who introduced him and thanked him at the University of Winnipeg reception in his honor that he is indeed a ‘giant’ in the world of children’s literature and most worthy of the award he will receive in Osaka, Japan later this month. His lecture gave me some interesting things to consider as I continue my own journey in the writing of children’s books.