Preview Cart Checkout

Become a Member

Join Today!

Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

Receive our Newsletter


Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations

Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations

Friday, December 17, 2021 to Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Red Cloud Opera House Gallery
413 N Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970

The exhibition Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations presents original illustrations from classic children’s literature. These pieces are widely recognized not only as artistic classics but also as the source of countless beloved memories for the young and young at heart. The exhibition includes original illustrations from Caldecott Medal recipients, “runner-up” Honor books, as well as other illustrations by award-winning artists. Young at Art celebrates the vision and talent of twenty-eight award-winning artists, including the first Caldecott Award recipient Dorothy P. Lathrop (1938), two-time winner Chris Van Allsburg (1982, 1986), and Maurice Sendak (1964), whose work Where the Wild Things Are, like Van Allsburg’s Jumanji and The Polar Express, was adapted for the big screen.

The Caldecott Collection of Children’s Book Illustrations is part of the permanent collection of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas. The museum has collected children’s book illustrations for more than fifty years. Curated by Danny Bills, curator of collections and exhibitions at Wichita Falls Museum of Art, and organized by Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Young at Art is part of ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance with support from the Nebraska Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Join us online December 16 for a free virtual author talk with children's literature expert Leonard Marcus as he discusses the life and work of illustrator Randolph Caldecott and the literary award that shares his name.You can learn more about the event here.

You can also bring the whole family to the Red Cloud Opera House on December 18 for a free screening of the film Jumanji, adapted from the Caldecott Medal-winning novel by Chris Van Allsburg, whose illustrations you can view in the art gallery as part of Young at Art.

If you would like to bring a group or class to the exhibit for a special storytime or art activity, please email education coordinator Rachel Olsen at

 Programming at the National Willa Cather's Red Cloud Opera House is made possible with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

Pictured: Leonard Weisgard (1916–2000), Mother Hen, c 1947; acrylic, 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches; Courtesy of Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University.

Video Interviews with Children's Authors and Illustrators

Video Interviews with Children's Authors and Illustrators
Video Interviews with Children's Authors and Illustrators

Websites for Illustrators in the Exhibition

Websites for Illustrators in the Exhibition
Websites for Illustrators in the Exhibition

Mary Azarian

The artist’s website provides a biography and book list and provides images of many of her limited edition black and white woodcuts, many of which are hand colored.

Ed Emberley

This artist’s site includes activities and drawing lessons for kids, as well as biographical and book information.

Gail E. Haley: Author, Illustrator, Puppeteer

The artist’s website includes the video, “A Conversation with the artist, Gail E. Haley.”

Ted Lewin

The artist’s website offers biographical information, several videos, and information about public speaking engagements. 

E. B. Lewis: Artistrator

The artist’s website includes a biography, slideshow of illustrations, and several videos.

Jerry Pinkney Studio

Jerry Pinkney’s website includes biographical information and samples of his work in children’s books, illustrated novels, commissioned art, and independent art. There is also a statement about the artist’s childhood and learning differences (he has dyslexia) and how drawing helped him become a successful student.

The Art of Uri Shulevitz: War and Peace

This artist’s site is devoted to works created in response to his personal memories of the Nazi blitz over Warsaw, Poland, when he was four years old.

Chris Van Allsburg

The artist’s website includes biography; interviews; a slideshow of books; images of sculpture, drawings, and posters by the artist; and several videos, including a TED Talk.

Ed Young

Ed Young’s website offers a brief biography, list of books, and contact information.

Additional Children's Literature Resources

Additional Children's Literature Resources
Additional Children's Literature Resources

Caldecott Medal Home Page

Annual award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Explore past and present medal winners and honor books, criteria for the award, and information about the award process.

Children’s Literature Research Collections, University of Minnesota

An internationally recognized library and archive for children’s literature which contains papers (especially book production materials such as original illustrations, publisher’s dummies, color separations, typescripts, etc.) for the following illustrators in this exhibition: Marcia Brown, Barbara Cooney, Roger Duvoisin, Ed Emberley, Paul Goble, Gail Haley, Nonny Hogrogian, Elizabeth Orton Jones, Dorothy Lathrop, Robert Lawson, Blair Lent, E. B. Lewis, Ted Lewin, Arnold Lobel, Beni Montresor, Miska Petersham, Alice and Martin Provensen, Clare Turlay Newberry, Jerry Pinkney, Maurice Sendak, Uri Shulevitz, Marc Simont, William Steig, Tasha Tudor, Lynd Ward, Leonard Weisgard, and Ed Young. 

National Center for Children’s Literature

The NCCIL, in Abilene, Texas, exhibits, tours, collects, preserves and promotes original art from the finest children’s literature. The site features pages on the following illustrators in the exhibition: Mary Azarian, Ted Lewin, Gerald McDermott, Jon J Muth, Jerry Pinkney, Alice and Martin Provensen, William Steig, and Ed Young. 


Artistic Bookmark Lesson Plan

Artistic Bookmark Lesson Plan
Artistic Bookmark Lesson Plan

Our Favorite Illustrated Books—A Mini Exhibition

Grade Levels 3–8


Participants will select their favorite illustrated children’s book and create an artistic bookmark to honor the book and its illustrations. The finished bookmarks will form a “curated” exhibition of favorite illustrated books, displayed along a “clothesline” by attaching clothespins to a hanging length of twine or yarn.


• Participants will choose their favorite illustrated book and one illustration in it as inspiration for their own design.

• Participants will create a bookmark that features the book’s title, an “Illustrated by…” statement, and a drawing inspired by a significant illustration in the book.

• As an optional extension, participants can share their favorite illustrated book with the group. The group can analyze and compare the various illustration styles.

Materials Needed:

• white cardstock, cut in the size and shape of a bookmark

• various art materials (pencils, crayons, art papers, markers, glue sticks, hole punch, beads, etc.)

• twine or yarn

• clothespins

Lesson Time:

This can be accomplished in one session, if desired. Book sharing activities will extend the timeframe.

Lesson Procedures:

Step 1

Ask participants to choose their favorite illustrated children’s book—based on their love for the artwork that brings the story to life—and bring the book to the workshop. Distribute the pre- cut cardstock and describe the components that should figure into their design: the title of the book, the phrase “illustrated by…”, and a drawing that is inspired by a favorite illustration in the book. The inspiration could be a character, setting, or other detail from the book.

Step 2

Participants should sketch out all elements of their bookmark design first, using erasable pencil.

Step 3

When satisfied with their design, participants can add color and details using their chosen art materials. For an additional creative touch, participants can add a loop of twine or yarn to a punched hole at the top of the bookmark and string beads on it, if desired.

Step 4

To create the curated exhibition of favorite illustrated books, display the completed bookmarks along a “clothesline” by attaching clothespins to a hanging length of twine or yarn. This activity can be extended if participants would like to share their books with the group, discussing and comparing the various styles, techniques, and media of book illustration represented. To expand the creative potential, allow participants to determine the shape, materials, and form of the bookmark, rather than using the pre-cut cardstock blanks. Their individual creative choices can express more about the illustration style of the book. Origami page-corner bookmarks, shaped fabric bookmarks, and fold-over magnetic bookmarks are just a few of the possibilities. Instructions and video tutorials are available online.

The Programming Guide for Young at Art ©2018 ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance