Our question of the week it: What author/illustrator do you most admire?
If you'd like to send us a question of the week to answer, feel free to put it in the comments section below, or email us at bluerosegirls at gmail dot com.
GRACE: I admire so many author & illustrators, including my fellow brgs that it's hard to pick one. Off the top of my head, I'd say Beverly Cleary, Tasha Tudor and Barbara Cooney because they are(were) all in their 90's and have kept writing and painting books that are as beautiful as they were when they first began their careers. I'm really into longevity! Beverly Cleary has a special place to me because I read this early on in my career when I got a bad review and it gave me immense comfort. I realized how arbitrary people's judgments can be and that even authors whose books have touched a generation are not ironclad from criticsm or stings. But that is another story...
ALVINA: Yes, aside from my fellow BRGs (and I'll also exclude any of the authors and illustrators I work with), I'd have to say for novels: Sharon Creech, Han Nolan, and Joan Bauer; and illustrators: Lane Smith, Peter Sis, and Jon Muth. I love almost everything these six publish. Hmmm. I just realized that all of the authors are women, and all of the illustrators are men. I don't think there's a deeper meaning to that, so I won't comment for now.
LIBBY: There are so many that I'm limiting this to the ones I admire most as people as well as writers, and will comment here only on the people part. Agatha Christie--after her first husband left she decided that she had to change from being a dog person ("A dog will only go for a walk if someone takes it") to a cat person ("A cat will go for a walk by itself"). So she bought a ticket on the Orient Express....her adventures would take too long to tell about. I also admire how cheerful and inventive she was: she was very modest about her writing ability, saying that she was a puzzle-maker, not a writer, but her plots are better than almost anyone's and in her best books she always has one or two cozy scenes that make me laugh out loud.
Jane Austen--for her genius; being such a loving member of a big happy family --not just to her brothers and sisters, whom she adored, but her nephews and nieces: "She seemed to love you and you loved her in return," one wrote; and Jane's own letters are full of the things she did for all of them. I also admire her for having what I can only call moral good taste. The sense of right and wrong in her books was something I never noticed when I was young but now I do and I admire that, too.
Beatrix Potter-- also for her writing genius, cheerfulness, and independence (all 3 of these women had those traits)....and for moving to Sawry with her husband, foreseeing what would happen to all the beautiful land around there, and buying up as many farms as she could, letting the farmers stay in them, and leaving it all to the National Trust with strict instructions so it has all stayed beautiful -- and the farmers have been able to stay. Thank you, Agatha, Jane, and Beatrix for all the joy you have given me and millions of other readers!
ANNA: Another tough question to answer! One of my favorite all time author/illustrators is the classic Beatrix Potter. I loved her books as a kid... though as an adult acquired a new appreciation for her work when I learned that she was an anomaly for her time- a successful woman in publishing who supported herself without a husband for many years. Another layer of her work that I admire is the way she researched her subjects with the eye of a scientist, her etchings and studies of rabbits and other animals are breathtaking (they had a show of her studies recently at the Eric Carle Museum out in Amherst: http://www.picturebookart.org). Other more contemporary artists/authors that I admire (excluding the ladies on this list of course): Peter McCarty, Holly Hobbie, Van Allsburg, Jon J Muth, Marjorie Priceman among others...
MEGHAN: I’m going to dodge the question completely by saying that I admire Ursula Nordstrom, editor to so many famous author/illustrators like Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, Margaret Wise Brown, and so on (all of whom I love). Without great editors there would be no great authors. Authors and illustrators are a temperate bunch. We need coddling and praise coupled with a firm but gentle push. I highly recommend getting Dear Genius and you’ll see why I admire this amazing editor.
There are so many illustrators I love. I always have to give props first and foremost to Trina Schart Hyman, who I credit to being the one, with her gorgeous Cricket Magazine work, who made me want to be an illustrator at 4 years old. Every folk tale I read still appears in my mind as illustrated by Trina. The other illustrators with the most books in my collection are also folk tale oriented artsits: Lisbeth Zwerger, Mary Grand Pre, S. Saelig Gallagher, and, oh! Gennady Spirin! Who not only paints the most beautiful, and most intense illustrations ever seen in children's books, but his output is unbelievable. Does this man ever sleep?