Artist Jerry Pinkney On His Visit to Montclair

Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak to Jerry Pinkney, illustrator of over 100 hundred books and winner of numerous awards–the most recent a Caldecott Medal for The Lion & The Mouse. Pinkney will be in Montclair on Saturday, October 23 to participate in The Little Read.

Pinkney, a native of Philadelphia, now lives in Westchester. He knows kids. He’s father to four children, grandfather to nine and a great-grandfather to one 3-year-old. He told me that the stories that he shares with his family are often the ones that inspire him to create a new book. His latest release, Three Little Kittens, is a favorite in his family and he said that pieces of the famous nursery rhyme show an energy that remind him of his great-granddaughter.

Pinkney’s editor, Lauri Hornik, lives in Montclair and is the person we can thank for getting him to read at Bradford School on Saturday. Her daughter is a first grader at the elementary school. I asked Pinkney what he planned on reading with the audience. In addition to sharing his new book Three Little Kittens, he plans to share how he creates books. He will show the children his first sketches, idea samples, and how they become final art for his books.

Before we ended our conversation, I asked Pinkney what he thought about the recent NY Times piece on picture books and how it states that today’s parents do not value them. He said that the conversations that followed that piece made him happy. They showed that people do value picture books and he saw people reminded of their favorite books and sharing them. While he believes the story had a negative slant, he feels that something positive will come out of it. He hopes that it will bring up the topic of visual literacy again, which is “the reading and writing of visual texts.” It is believed that through visual literacy, a child will gain a  stronger understanding of the written word. That is what picture books do, and why they have always been, and still are, important in a child’s learning.

I was a fan of Pinkney’s books before, but after speaking to him, I’m a huge fan of the man as well. He was kind and inspiring. He said he is excited to return to Montclair, having visited Montclair Art Museum in the past.

Don’t miss out on hearing Pinkney at Bradford School at The Little Read. The Baristas will get in on the action as well. I’ll be reading at Watchung Booksellers at 11:10 and Debbie Galant, and her Mister Barista Warren Levinson, will be reading at Bobbi Brown Studio at 2:30 pm and 2:40 pm.

Readings will take place in the following locations:

  • 10 am to 4 pm, Main Library, 50 South Fullerton Avenue
  • 9 am to 10 am, Bradford School, 87 Mt. Hebron Road
  • 10 am to 11 am, Van Vleck House and Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street
  • 11 am to noon, Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield Street
  • Noon to 1 pm, Fire Department HQ, 1 Pine Street
  • 1 pm to 2 pm, Montclair Art Museum, 3 South Mountain Avenue
  • 2 pm. to 3 pm, Bobbi Brown Studio, 10 Lackawanna Plaza
  • 3 pm to 4 pm, Charles H. Bullock School, 55 Washington Street


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