Kathryn Lasky. I have no idea when I got this one. Perhaps at a historical fiction conference hosted by MLA or MSLA in 2000 or 2001.
James Howe. I believe I got this at the wonderful Sunnyside event in Tarrytown, NY in 2006.
Robert Cormier. Another crown jewel of the collection. This was in the fall of 2000. PEN New England offers one children’s literature event each year, and he was presenting at that one. I think this may have been his last public appearance. It was a fun night, and I feel so lucky to had the opportunity to meet him.
Elizabeth Berg. This is admittedly getting into “crossover” territory; she is the only non-children’s author that I have (I think). I believe this is from an event at the Brookline Booksmith, probably in the mid 2000s. A friend is a huge fan, so I borrowed her copy of Joy School and had it signed without telling her. One of the best presents I ever gave.
Ruth Horowitz. This is from an event at Eight Cousins in 2004, to celebrate the publication of Crab Moon. That is a horseshoe crab that she has drawn. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Katherine Paterson. I have seen her many times, but I think this was at the Rabbit Hill Children’s Literature Festival in CT in the early 2000s. She is a wonderful speaker and I highly recommend going to hear her if you get a chance.
Christopher Paul Curtis. I got this signature at an event at the Children’s Bookshop in Brookline. He had just won the Newbery for Bud, Not Buddy, and I was shocked that the whole world hadn’t turned out for the event. Later, whenever authors wondered how they could fit their signature in the tiny books, I’d say, “If Christopher Paul Curtis can do it, anyone can!”
Marilyn Nelson. I’ve seen her speak many times now, but I believe this is from the first time I heard her, which was at the Eric Carle Museum in its early days. I had heard about her poem for Emmett Till, but it wasn’t published yet. She read it that day, and after we peeled ourselves off of the floor, we bemoaned the years we’d have to wait to be able to read it ourselves. I will never forget it.
Ruby Bridges and Barbara Henry. When Through My Eyes was published, the famous first-grader and her teacher came to Eight Cousins. They gave a wonderful and memorable presentation, and I was struck by how recent those events were. I hadn’t ever thought of those children as being younger than my parents.
Anik McGrory. She wrote and illustrated Mouton’s Impossible Dream in 2000. I don’t think she’s done much since.
David Almond. I got this one at an event sponsored by The Children’s Bookshop in Brookline, MA. I believe it was fall or winter 1999/2000.
David Macaulay, fall 1999. When I was in the Children’s Literature program at Simmons College, I was lucky enough to take a course on picture books with Susan Bloom. We took a field trip to David Macaulay’s studio in RI. I felt very awkward asking for his signature, because it wasn’t really a book-signing event, but I’m so glad I did. At the time, I was very impressed with his kindness and openness in discussing his work.
Lee A. Wade. She is the author of the Cheerios Play Book, among others. When I first started collecting signatures, sometimes people would loudly proclaim in public that I should get so-and-so to sign my books. So I did.
Edward Gorey. One of the crown jewels of my collection, naturally. The drawing is a sideways figbash. I grew up on Cape Cod and my dad used to perform in Edward’s plays. I had no idea that he was famous; he was just this slightly scary old man who wrote bizarre nonsense plays that I had to sit through. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered how great and enthusiastic his fan base is. Now I rather wished I’d paid more attention during those plays!
Barbara McClintock came into DandyTales in New Canaan, CT many times when I worked there in the early 2000s.