I got a really nice email recently from a picture book illustrator named Nicole Tadgell. She read my review of her new book Lucky Beans in the latest issue of The Horn Book, and she commented that it was like coming full circle for her. She says an article I wrote for Horn Book years ago inspired her to become an illustrator! In the article, “The Faces in the Picture Books,” I took a look at a large pool of picture books and found that they still were very heavily focused on white families and white children. Nicole’s new book is a story about a middle class African American family during the Depression, exactly the type of story being overlooked previously.
Of course, I got a kick out of her email, but the larger point is that it’s so reassuring to hear during this stressful, post-NSLS /pre-Summer Reading period that the work we do really can make a difference. I was lucky enough to have someone take the time to write!