This week marks the deaths of two multiple-award-winning children’s book creators: Leo Dillon and Ellen Levine . In this online space, we invite you to share your personal stories about Dillon and Levine and the impact that their books have made on you, on the young people in your lives, and on the field of children’s literature. Where did you first encounter their work? What happened the last time that you shared one of their titles with children?
And while we’re celebrating the lives and talents of Dillon and Levine, it seems appropriate, too, to celebrate those who are responsible for introducing their work to kids. Immediately after I learned about Dillon’s death, I thought of the Hazel Westgate, the late, legendary children’s librarian at the Iowa City Public Library, whose collection of children’s book art is still on view for the public. In 1976, Westgate read Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears aloud to me and my sister, and she cracked our small world open. We pored over the beautiful images, we asked to have the words read aloud again and again, and in the years that followed, we took almost all of Westgate’s suggestions and discovered a world of books that remain beloved titles today.