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Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Children’s Literary Salon: Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

I am serious as death when I state that if you see no other Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL, see this one:

The Children’s Literary Salon is pleased to announce our next event this Saturday, October 27th at 2:00 p.m.

Children’s Literary Salon

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss:
How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI,
and Transformed Children’s Literature
Presented by Philip Nel

An illustrated talk, focusing on Johnson and Krauss in the 1950s, the period in which they reinvent the modern picture book, and the FBI places them under surveillance.  Working with legendary Harper editor Ursula Nordstrom, Johnson publishes Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), and Krauss begins her decade-long collaboration with Maurice Sendak, creating the groundbreaking A Hole Is to Dig (1952), A Very Special House (1953) and six others.  And FBI builds a file on Johnson, opening his mail, monitoring his bank account, and noting the names of people who visited or phoned.  Drawing from the biography (forthcoming September 2012) that shares its title with this talk, Nel offers a story of art, publishing, politics, and the power of the imagination.

Philip Nel is Professor of English and Director of Kansas State University’s Program in Children’s Literature. His most recent books are Keywords for Children’s Literature (co-edited with Lissa Paul, 2011) Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature (co-edited with Julia Mickenberg, 2008), The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (2007), Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004). Forthcoming, fall 2012: a double biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, and The Complete Barnaby, Vol. 1 (co-edited with Eric Reynolds), which collects the first two years of Crockett Johnson’s influential comic strip. He also blogs. And tweets.

This event will be held in the main branch of New York Public Library at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building located at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue.  The talk will take place in the South Court Auditorium.  Copies of Mr. Nel’s book will be for sale at that time.  The Children’s Literary Salon is a free event open to the public.  No reservations necessary.  See the announcement here for more details.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. oh my goodness, i didn’t know they were a couple! the e.b./ katherine whites of picture books! can’t be in new york but will surely get myself this bio.

  2. The book costs $40? $30 + at Amazon? For a paperback? I was going to buy it, since the libraries near me in California don’t have it, but now I have to reconsider.

  3. Jennifer in GA says:

    Hey Betsy- do you know what the deal is with the availability of this book?? I forgot to preorder from Amazon when the hardback was like $28. Now it’s not available in hardback at all, and like WendieO mentioned, the paperback is $30+. I’d love to read it, but that’s a little too rich for my blood. Sadly, there isn’t a copy available in my library system, which covers the whole state of GA! :/

  4. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    So sorry I’m going to be out of town and will miss this.