Simms Taback 1932-2011

Beloved children's book illustrator and author Simms Taback died on December 25, 2011.

Faculty Jeff Seaver was a good friend of Mr. Taback's, and has created a web site honoring him.

Illustrator Steve Brodner posted a note about his passing on Drawger, as did illustrator Noah Woods

Steven Heller wrote his obituary in the New York Times.

The illustration, above, is from a spread in my own well-worn copy of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Simms Taback.


Jack Tom's (Class of 2010) Levi's Poster Project

Guest speaker José Cruz shows off Jack Tom's (Class of 2010) book proposal on his blog this week. Visit José's blog, x-factor-e, to read about Jack's idea and take a trip down memory lane. Above left: Charlie White III, Cowboy, lettering by Tony Naganuma; above right: David Willardson, Levi's for Chicks.


Happy 2012!

Happy New Year to everyone from Murray and Carol!

Illustration, left, by José Cruz, one of the many wonderful speakers that Murray has lined up for the program's upcoming Fort Worth, Texas contact period.


Vote Early, Vote Often!

Friends and colleagues unite to vote Magge Gagliardi (Class of 2012) 2011's Best Set Designer in the BroadwayWorld Connecticut Awards for her work on the Hartford Children's Theatre production of Pinkalicious.

In fact, three of Magge's set designs were nominated: Pinkalicious, 13, and Annie. But—Chicago-style political slogans aside—you only have one vote, so cast your votes for Pinkalicious which is in the top three and steadily heading for a win.

It's quick and easy, so do it now! (All votes must be in by end of year—that's in 2 days!)


Ohio Kids Choose Faculty Bill Thomson's Book CHALK for Award

above: an illustration from the book CHALK by faculty Bill Thomson

The children's book CHALK by faculty Bill Thomson has won a number of awards and honors, including the 2011 Connecticut Book Award in the Children's Illustrator category in November. But the book's most recent award is especially meaningful, because the "judges" were children. Earlier this month, CHALK won the 2011 Buckeye Children's Book Award for the state of Ohio for grades 3-5. The Buckeye Children's Book Award winners are selected entirely by children.

In related news, the publisher of CHALK and Thomson's other books, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, was acquired by Amazon. Many of the articles about the acquisition, including an article in Publisher's Weekly, mention CHALK as one of Marshall Cavandish's well-known children's books.


Chava Light's (Class of 2010) Cartoon Controversy

Posted on the Algemeiner, Chava Light's (Class of 2010) contemporary events cartoons on why Chassidic Reggae singer Matisyahu shaved his beard—an important element of Chassidic observance—earlier this week, has been generating a lot of buzz, with strong words and opinions being exchanged. 

Picked up by CrownHeights.info the debate has continued to evolve, with some people being offended that the cartoons seem to make light of what they consider to be a very serious topic, some attacking the artist, some finding the illustrations funny, and some condemning the singer. 

Controversy or not, however, Chava appreciates the feedback and hearing the public's take on her work. She says, "I've already got more ideas waiting to be painted! Keep your eyes open for more cartoons!"


Linda Tajirian's (Class of 2010) Work at Noah Webster Library

The West Hartford News recently published an announcement of the Noah Webster Library's showcase of local illustrators, most recently the work of Linda Tajirian (Class of 2010).

"In a clean, crisp style, Tajirian's art captures life's moments with a journalistic approach of storytelling. A sheep caught grazing, a basket of yarn waiting to be created into next year's winter hat and scarf. These detailed illustrations draw the viewer in for a closer look with the promise of a story to unfold in this narrative art."

Linda's work will be on display in the children's department of the library at 20 South Main Street in West Hartford, CT, through December.