Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Covers for Imaginary Books Exhibit

On Sunday my friend Chris and I attended an open house at the Evanston Public Library for the exhibit An Imaginary Library: Children's books that do not (yet) exist. This traveling exhibition is available from the International Youth Library in Germany and features 75 paintings, sketches and drawings from illustrators representing 30 countries. The art work is displayed throughout the library and was introduced by Jeff Garrett, Northwestern University's Special Collection Librarian. After Jeff's presentation on the exhibit we toured the collection and enjoyed a reception at the Library.

The book cover art works are beautiful, from simple ink sketches to elaborate paintings and each one included a short description of the book the artist had in mind to create. One of my favorites from a illustrator in Portugal featured a cat in a tree with leaves of words, the description, "A lost and lonesome cat finds solace in the wonderful stories that the trees of large garden tell him. Each leaf of the trees is like a page in a book, and the stories let the cat forget all his loneliness and boredom." Other favorites were illustrations of pirate geckos, mermaids carrying buckets of tears and a dog who makes a photo album of pictures of his family. Charming, imaginative, moving and magical, especially because the book cover art work allows you to glimpse just a bit of a book that has yet to be written. It's like a window into imagination. Loved it.

If you live in the Chicago area or are visiting, don't miss a stop at Evanston Public Library to view this exhibit, it's only there through January. Evanston is 1 of only 3 libraries in the US to host the exhibit. For more information on the exhibit check out the Evanston Public Library page here. For more information on the International Youth Library check out their website here.

I'll end with one more wonderful book description, illustrated with a little girl, her dog, and a tree with 1 leaf, "This book project is an invitation to everyone who wants to take a walk with me to watch the last autumn leaves fall down, to see a plastic bag fly through the streets, or to listen to the faucet drip in the midnight kitchen. It's a personal book, a kind of diary, in which you can see the ordinary things that can always be seen. But you take more time than you usually do. It's about the fine difference between looking and seeing. " Isabel Pin, Germany.

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