Look at those glasses. So hip.

On June 18th, KU wishes a very happy birthday to one of the most fun authors and illustrators of children's books this side of anywhere.  Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals (for Jumanji and The Polar Express, both of which can be found here at KU) and numerous other awards for his contributions to the genre.  As we've made pretty clear about a million times, we love kids' books, so ol' CVA is a big deal for us.


Plus he wrote this adorable book about a couple ants who decide to go in for themselves instead of reporting to the colony. *SPOILER ALERT* It doesn't really work out for them.

Here are some interesting facts about this great author/illustrator:

  • As a child, his paternal extended family owned a creamery in Michigan.  When he was born, his family lived in a farmhouse next to the Creamery.
  • He totally lied to an admissions officer for the University of Michigan about his art education (which at that time was negligible) so that he could get accepted into the college of Art and Design there.  It worked out, though.
  • He actually studied sculpture in undergrad and graduate settings and had his own sculpture studio before his career writing and illustrating books.
  • The bull terrier Fritz who appears in many of Van Allsburg's works is a tribute to his brother-in-law's dog whom he used as a model.
  • Van Allsburg illustrates his books in a realistic way because he thinks that fantastic and unbelievable stories need realistic illustrations to make them

(These facts and other fun stuff available at Chris Van Allsburg's website here.)

So happy birthday to a great author and illustrator!  If you feel a hankering for a Van Allsburg classic or any other book for your summer reading pleasure, come down to KU, we'll hook you up!

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