Festival to Put the Spotlight on Illustrators

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelly Womer Daily Herald Correspondent

Children's books are filled with delightful stories and meaningful lessons that are short enough to make an important point and long enough to make a lasting impression. But the story isn't the first thing to catch the eyes of most youngsters and parents. It's the colorful illustrations that make each page a new adventure.

The Naperville Public Libraries are sponsoring a weeklong festival celebrating the works of children's illustrators and giving residents of all ages a chance to appreciate pictures in books as art. The Children's Illustrator Festival runs Aug. 12-16 at Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave.

"We want children to look at books in more depth and in a new way," said Evelyn Vanek, the children's librarian. "They can further appreciate and look at books more critically to see what is good. It exposes them to the best illustrations available."

The festival explores artwork by three nationally recognized artists: Ezra Jack Keats, Eric Carle and Leo Lionni.

"Kids love them already, and now they can look at them more," Vanek said. "Each one is distinctive."

The festival will kick off at 11 a.m. Aug. 12 with Michael Hays, a Chicago-area author and illustrator who also sings and performs his works. Copies of his book, "Abiyoyo," will be available for purchase during the event, which is open to all ages. "It's neat to see someone who has art as a career," Vanek said.

On Aug. 13, children will learn about Lionni at 10 a.m. through stories, videos and a craft project. Pre-registration is required for the event, which is limited to 50 children between the ages of 3 and 6.

The library's last storytime of the summer, Aug. 14, will be "Eric Carle Day" at the Riverwalk Amphitheater. At 11:30 a.m., the outdoor storytime will feature Carle's book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." The event is open to all ages.

At 10 a.m. Aug. 15, children between the ages of 7 and 10 will discover the works of Keats through stories, videos, displays and crafts. …