Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Events

Leo Politi was born in Fresno, California in 1908. At age 6, he and his family moved to Italy where he began his art training at the Royal Palace of Monza. He returned to Fresno and launched his literary career in 1938 with "Little Pancho". In 1950 he was honored with the Caldecott Medal for "the nation's most distinguished children's picture book" for "Song of the Swallows". Over the years he wrote many more widely-acclaimed books and achieved worldwide fame prior to his passing away in 1996. A public library, a park, a plaza and an elementary school have been named for him. The Centennial of his birth saw many commemorative celebrations in California and the nation.






Press Coverage

Want to read more about Leo Politi, Centennial year programs and events, and the communities response to all the festivities?  Click here to see a variety of blogs and articles written about the Centennial.

Proclamations & Commendations

A look at the many letters, proclamations and commendations Leo Politi has received extolling his outstanding contribution to the world of art and children's literature. (click)

Inscriptions and Dedications

Leo Politi spent many hours inscribing the inside page of his books to his friends and admirers. Often adding an colorful illustration with a sincere personal note. (click here to see his inscriptions)

Leo Politi Time Line

An interesting time line look following Leo's interesting career and artistic milestones in his illustrious life. (click here)

Kick Off Celebration

Copy of the program from the Official Kick Off event.

For the City of Los Angeles and the Leo Politi family, the "Leo Politi Kick Off" Celebration was a day to be cherished. So many of you brought your Leo Politi autographed books, artwork, photos of paintings and precious stories to share with his family and friends. It rained leading up to the event and then all suddenly the sun appeared. Leo Politi had to be smiling as he saw all the children dressed in their cultural costumes dancing, singing and celebrating his art with puppet shows and readings of his books. The Politi family would like to thank all who volunteered and participated including  The El Pueblo Park Association, The El Pueblo Historical Monument, The City of Los Angeles and the Merchants of Olvera Street. For those of you who could not attend, you missed a very special and unique day that made us proud to be an Angeleno. We hope to see you at future centennial festivities.  Last but not least,  99 THANKS to David and Sherry Gold of the 99 cents only store for making this wonderful program possible and for all the special things that you quietly do for the City of Los Angeles. God Bless you.


2008-2009 Centennial Events & Celebrations

California’s Assistant Majority Leader Kevin De Leon, who represents the 45th Assembly District is sponsoring a Leo Politi art exhibit in the California State Capitol Museum. The exhibit will run from August 1,2008 through August 17, 2008. The title of the exhibit is “Leo Politi’s Children of Los Angeles". The exhibition is part of a nationwide centennial celebration of the artist, muralist and award winning Children’s book author & illustrator, California native, Leo Politi was considered a pioneer in the children’s book field with over twenty books that tenderly introduced children everywhere to California’s multi- cultural heritage and diversity.

January 26, 2008 was the "official kick off" of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  It was also the commencement of the Leo Politi Art Exhibit at the Pico House. The exhibit  contains never before seen Leo Politi paintings, sculptures and surprises!  The festivities included music, dance and celebration of Olvera Street's beloved Artist, Muralist, Author and Illustrator.  The Historical Pico House is located across from Olvera Street, and is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles. (Click here for video)  (Click here)

The Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles in September 2008 celebrated artists, muralist, author, illustrator, Leo Politi and his 2008 Centennial with a feature article in Department of Cultural Affair's Latino Calendar.  The article spotlighted Politi's children books "Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street", "Juanita", "Pancho", "Rosa" and "The Nicest Gift". They showed examples of  Leo Politi's artwork from the early forties from "Aqui Se habla Espanol" and "Stories from the Americas". The calendar will list many of the hundreds of planned festivities celebrating The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial. (click)


Leo Politi

Leo Politi, 1908-2008, was a close friend of Arne Nixon and who spoke often at Professor Nixon’s programs. The Center owns dozens of pieces of his original art as well as all his picture books, beautifully inscribed to Arne Nixon and others. On June 2, 2010 The Leo Politi Garden, funded by ANCA, the Arne Nixon Center Advocates, will be dedicated built outside the new Henry Madden Library. (click here) to see The Arne Nixon Center collection of Leo Politi's inscriptions. To see photos of the Leo Politi Garden dedication ceremony (click here)

The Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles in May celebrated artist, muralist, author, illustrator, Leo Politi and his 2008 Centennial with a feature article in DCA's Asian and Pacific Islander American Calendar. The article spotlights Politi's children's books, "Moy Moy", "Mr. Fong's Toy Shop"  and "Mieko". In addition to his Chinese American and Japanese American artwork there are also examples of Leo Politi's Korean American and Philippine American art. The calendar spotlights many of the hundreds of planned 2008 events celebrating Leo Politi, a Los Angeles treasure and his Milestone Centenary.

Everybody loves Leo Politi who wrote and illustrated dozens of children's books, many of which are set in the Latino communities of Southern California. Parents and children and their children's children have grown up reading his precious stories. Libraries, parks and schools have been named in his honor; on what would have been his one-hundredth birthday, there were celebrations throughout our state. Many of Leo Politi's books have been out of print for years, and so The Getty Museum and Getty Publications in honor of Mr.Politi's centenary is proud to reprint four of his most popular books. (click for GETTY blogs)

This Caldecott Medal winning picture book from the beloved writer and illustrator Leo Politi tells the story of the yearly arrival of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Julian, the bell ringer of the mission, tells young Juan the story of the swallows and together they eagerly await the birds return. Music and lyrics for "La Golondrina," a traditional song about the swallows, are included and Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout the story. This charming book is an excellent introduction to the history of the California missions for young children.

"Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street" (a Caldecott Honor book) is a Christmas story that takes place at the famous Los Angeles street address. For years this charming story has been adapted into plays and puppet shows throughout the United States at Christmas time.

Olvera Street and the Historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the setting for "Juanita", also a Caldecott Honor book, is a fable about the annual blessing of the animals at Easter time. In 1978, Leo Politi painted the mural entitled "The Blessing of the Animals" at the Historic Landmark, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, which has become one of the city of Los Angeles' important  treasures.

This delightful picture book from beloved children's book author Leo Politi, originally published in 1971, tells the story of Emmet, one of the many stray dogs taken in by old Mr. Winkel, among them, Poupee, Oscar, and Puff. Emmet was always the troublemaker of the lot, escaping from Mr. Winkel's yard to chase the neighborhood cats and snatch toys from small children. He even refused to obey the grocer's sign that clearly said, "No dogs allowed"! Tired of putting up with Emmet's energetic pranks, Mr. Winkel's neighbors are ready to call the dogcatcher when the rascally dog saves the grocer's shop from a fire set by a prowler. (This is a "true story" that takes place in the neighborhood of Angeleno Heights.)  Emmet was a stray and one of many dogs that Leo Politi adopted. Today you can still see Emmet as Leo Politi's immortalized Emmet as part his Los Angeles treasured mural entitled "The Blessing of the Animals" at Olvera Street.

The "Kick Off" of the "Million Word Challenge" on February 21, 2008 at the Leo Politi Elementary School, 2481 West Eleventh Street, Los Angeles CA. 90006 began with a continental breakfast hosted by the school. Speakers and guests included David Brewer, Superintendent of the Schools LAUSD, Monica Garcia, President, LAUSD Board of Education, Evelyn Martinez, Executive Director, First 5 L.A., Darlene Robles, Superintendent, LACOE, Richard Alonzo, Local District 4 Superintendent, LAUSD and Ilene Abramson, Los Angeles Public Library, Director of Children Services.  Sylvia Lopez from KCAL 9 was the Mistress of Ceremony.  The Leo Politi Elementary School showed and told their "joy of reading" by performing two dances from two Leo Politi Children's Books. (click here)

In conjunction with their annual awards luncheon  California Readers celebrated The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  Every year the California Readers presents their Annual Golden Leo Politi Award to a California Author. The Centennial was  even more special to the 2008 recipient as there were many Leo Politi surprises. All teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, parents, book lovers and Leo Politi fans were anxious to attend on  February 23, 2008 at the Pickwick Gardens, Terrace Room.

The South Pasadena Library, in conjunction with The Friends of the South Pasadena Library, had its 2008 Leo Politi Centennial celebration. On February 28, 2008, there was a special, one-day-only exhibition entitled "Leo Politi's Children."  On display were examples of Leo Politi's stunning original art work.  In  addition, the library had an afternoon program for children and an evening program for adults. The children's program  included special book readings and Politi related participation activities.  Lectures on Leo Politi were given by authors Ann Stalcup and son Paul Politi. See for yourself why the wonderful children of greater Los Angeles were Leo Politi's, "Mona Lisas."


The City of South Pasadena takes great pride in the Leo Politi Mural at the South Pasadena Public Library which is considered a city treasure. As part of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Celebration the South Pasadena City Council placed on the February 22, 2008 agenda, an item to proclaim February 28,  2008 LEO POLITI DAY IN SOUTH PASADENA. 


On Thursday, March 13, 2008 the students at Leo Politi Elementary School gave a special performance called "Leo Politi's Friends Around the World."  It was followed by a special showing of student artwork based on Leo Politi's books.  The event was part of the year-long celebration of the school's beloved namesake. (Click Here)

The rededication ceremony was on Wednesday, April 1st, at the historic landmark Biscailuz Building on Olvera Street. The El Pueblo Park Association had recently completed the restoration of the Los Angeles treasure, "The Blessing of the Animals" mural, by Leo Politi along with an anti-graffiti material applied on top of the finished coat. The rededication of the mural was one of hundreds of Centennial celebrations that took place across the nation and will continue throughout his 100th year until what would have been Leo's 101st birthday on November 21, 2009.

For many years the people of Olvera Street have celebrated the Blessing of the Animals.  This centuries old tradition dates back to the fourth century when San Antonio de Abad was recognized as the Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom. In those days the people would take their animals to the Padre to receive a blessing and to ask for fertility and health. The ceremony is held in grateful recognition of the tremendous services given to the human race by animals. The Blessing of the Animals is held on the Saturday before Easter, Sabado de Gloria, the gaily adorned animals and their owners start assembling in the Plaza. A procession, led by the Merchants of Olvera Street, starts promptly at two o'clock and winds its way past the platform where the Bishop or Padre will bless each animal and person as they go by. The cow, decorated with flowers, heads the procession. She goes first because she is the animal who gives the most to mankind. The Father chants the Benediction: "Almighty Father, we bless these animals for all they have done in supplying our food, in carrying our burdens providing us with clothing, companionship and rendering a service to the human race since the world began". In 1974, thanks to a donation by the Filippa Pollia Foundation, Los Angeles artist and muralist Leo Politi was commissioned to paint a large mural on the Biscailuz Building. Leo Politi was no stranger to the oldest street in Los Angeles. His love affair with Olvera Street started in the early thirties when he painted portraits, sold his paintings and sculptures in front of the El Paseo, where he was discovered by Script Magazine who named him "The Artist of Olvera Street." Also two of the twenty one children's books that he wrote and illustrated are centered on Olvera Street.  Both of which were named Honor Books. For the subject of the mural he chose "The Blessing of the Animals," and Politi included many of the people who participated in the ceremony over the years: a blind harp player who performed the song "La Paloma"  during the sparsely attended processions during the 1940's; a tall thin violinist who regularly played on Olvera Street and was the basis for the grandfather in Politi's classic children's book "Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street"; a lady with poodles who worked in a booth on Olvera Street; and Emmet and Oscar - Politi's own dogs under the stairway. The mural also portrays Politi's observations made while executing the piece, including the sparrows that fed at his feet on quiet days and a baby, which he depicted in a basket on a donkey's back.  Painted with acrylics, these memories and observations are expressed in Politi's highly individualized and distinctive style that captures both simplicity and gentility. Like all of Politi's murals, he uses no helpers and all of the work is his own including the carving of the door and the mosaic tile work. On April 4, 1978, Cardinal Timothy Manning, blessed and dedicated the mural. Everyone is invited to bring his or her animals and pets to take part in this colorful procession and to receive a blessing.


David Gold is a proud and treasured Angelino. For many years David Gold, Leo Politi and others volunteered their time and resources to help save Hazard Park, Elysian Park and other endangered Los Angeles Parks. David Gold is also an admirer of Politi's talent and has a large collection of his art. However in 2008, rather than celebrate Leo Politi's 100 Year Celebration (Centennial) David Gold founder of the 99¢ Only Store will celebrate Leo Politi's (99th) NINETY NINTH YEAR....AGAIN. Last year he and his wife, Sherry were part of the Olvera Street Oral History Documentary and this year they sponsored 99% of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Kick Off Souvenir Program with the El Pueblo Park Association.  They will continue celebrating nine days a week......


First floor Gallery Exhibit of the entire Bunker Hill Collection... Many paintings not included in his 1964 book "Bunker Hill , Los Angeles"... reminiscences of bygone days. The first time ever!! The entire collection was shown!! February 2, 2008 - June 14, 2008.(Click for some exhibit photos) Leo Politi postcards are now available at the bookstore. (click)

Focal (Friends of Children and Literature) presented a Leo Politi celebration, in honor of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Year, enjoyed special guest readers and children activities.  This event was located at the Central Library, 630 West 5th Street, Downtown Los Angeles (Children Literature) on February 3, 2008.

The Million Word Challenge is an annual Los Angeles County-wide literacy campaign promoting a culture of literacy at home and academic achievement at school, culminating with the annual Feria del Libro:A Family Book Fair. The initiative challenges students to read millions of words outside of the classroom. This campaign is a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, First 5, Families In Schools, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Los Angeles Unified School District with supporting sponsorship from La Opinion, NBC 4, T52, Target and Washington Mutual.  Each participating school will have the opportunity to select one student to receive a $50 gift certificate valid for purchasing books at the Feria del Libro: A Family Book Fair, held on June 7, 2008. Student winners will be announced at the end of May and be recognized by their local schools. This year, the Million Word Challenge honored the Legacy of Author/Illustrator Leo Politi and celebrated his Centennial by staging the Million Word Challenge Kick-Off at Leo Politi Elementary School on February 21, 2008.

On Sunday, May 18, 2008, the City of Los Angeles paid honor to muralist, artist, author and illustrator Leo Politi by naming the intersection of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Blvd. "Leo Politi Square".  The time of the ceremony coincided with a walking tour of Angeleno Heights and Trolley Car dedication. Included in the celebration was a "special" tribute to Leo Politi from the Los Angeles School District's Leo Politi Elementary School students. (click here)


2008 ground breaking ceremony to be held at the Madden Library for The Leo Politi Garden. The memorial garden has been designed by Robert Boro. The date and time will be announced.  Click here to view Boro's artist rendering of the Garden and photos of the Secret Garden Party fundraiser for the Leo Politi Garden. The dedication ceremony of the Leo Politi garden was held on June 2nd. To see the photos (click here)

Feria del Libro: A Family Book Fair is a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, First 5, Families In Schools, The Los Angeles County Office of Education, and Los Angeles Unified School District.  "Feria del Libro", an annual family book fair is proud  to celebrate the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial by featuring Leo Politi's artwork on their 2008 Feria del Libro poster.  Each year 30,000 family and friends enjoy a day of storytelling, music, good food, activities for the youth, meeting authors, access to important community and college information, and of course buying books from quality book vendors.  Feria del Libro was held on June 7 2008 at the Los Angeles City Hall. (Click here to view photos)


Saturday, March 29, 2008 in honor of “The Blessing of the Animals” festival at Olvera Street, there was a reading of the Leo Politi’s books “Saint Francis and the Animals” and “Emmet” at the library accompanied with a related craft. Animal crackers were served.

On the Biscailuz Building at the plaza of Olvera Street, Leo Politi's mural comes alive with the Blessing of the Animals March 22, 2008. A very special day was combined with the Centennial Celebration and many surprises. Many parents brought their children, their animals and their love of tradition and celebrated! (click here)

Just across from the Biscaluz Building at the plaza of Olvera Street is the  Leo Politi tree. Dedicated on May 5, 1984 to honor the well loved author and artist in recognition of his love for the city of Los Angeles and the children he depicted in his award winning books.

  • TAFT HIGH SCHOOL (Woodland Hills, CA)

On April 8, 2008, author and Leo Politi biographer, Ann Stalcup gave a thirty minute presentation at Taft High School. Her audience was fascinated to learn more of the ethnic areas of downtown Los Angeles that had inspired and influenced Leo Politi's work. Ann's presentation was part of Taft High School's "Passport to Learning".

On April 15,2008 a presentation was given to Castelar Elementary School’s Fifth Graders under the direction of their teachers, Susan Dickson, Diane Manke and ex-principal Dr. William Chun-Hoon, and in conjunction with the Friends of the Chinatown Libarary.  The students had been studying Leo Politi’s connection with their school. The fifth graders competed in writing essays interpreting what they felt Leo Politi intended to convey with his multi-ethnic mural painted  on a wall at the entrance of their school. The  winning essays were written by Engleap Leang, Ashley Thompson, Judy Chen, Ivy Hong, Ricky Hoh, Sammi Wu, Sandy Ho, Michelle Yu, Tiao Li, Alejandra Zazueta, Timlan Wong, Yean Ly, Becky Gee, Raymond Chan, Jenifer Cai, Danny Melendez, Raina Mark, Mei Chen Lin. Engleap Leang and Ashley Thompson read their essays to the group following an Ann Stalcup talk and slide presentation on Leo Politi.  

Saturday, April 26, 2008 Leo Politi's beloved 1946 book "Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street" was read and performed by the Theatre of Puppets at the 13th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. Pedro appeared on the Reading by 9 stage in the Festival's children's area.  140,000 people attended the 2 day event, the largest book fair in the USA. Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street is the only one of Leo Politi's 24 children's and adult books currently in print. It was sold at the Festival to benefit the Olvera Street Merchants Foundation. (click here)

On Sunday April 27, 2008, the Smiley Library paid honor to Leo Politi as part of their celebration of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial. Included was a special exhibit of the "Redlands Impressions" book.  Original paintings from the book were on display throughout the library. Also in the Children's Room Leo Politi's mural of Children reading was on exhibit. Members of the  Leo Politi family were there to share in the festivities. On Saturday April 26, 2008, Ann Stalcup  presented a program on Leo Politi's life and work for the children of Redlands. Then on Sunday April 27,2008,  Ann again gave a program as part of the centennial celebration. (Click here)


The Lugonia "Forget Me Not" Garden in Redlands, Ca. was created in 1998 by now retired Lugonia Elementary school teacher Diana Holly and her 5th grade class. This garden provides students, parents, and the community a place to get acquainted with nature and it enhances the school campus environment.  Since its inception, the garden has been a focal point of pride, beauty, and knowledge, not only for the School but for the entire Redland's community. The Smiley Library commissioned a stained glass window to pay special tribute to the Lugonia "Forget Me Not" Garden. The Garden has inspired other Redland's Schools to create their own gardens. For a decade now, the students have been reading Leo Politi's books in the Garden. One of their favorite stories is from Ann Stalcup's book "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels." This story tells about the weeds in Politi's yard.  Leo Politi found these weeds to be so beautiful and decorative and was saddened when his son had cut them down before he could capture their wondrous beauty on paper. The students wanted to celebrate Leo Politi's centennial by creating garden full of those wondrously beautiful and decorative weeds. The Leo Politi Weeds Garden was a perfect way to honor the life of Leo Politi.

The Friends of the Watts Towers Art Center and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural  Affairs proudly present "The Watts Towers 50 Years Inspiring Art".  The Towers are not only a Great American, Californian and a Los Angeles Treasure but as Artist Leo Politi said in his 1967 Best-West Publications book, The Poinsettia, "The Towers, I believe are among the most exciting works of architecture of this century" ..."Though we associate the towers with an Italian emigrant, they are also a product inherent to the life and people of this community. The people here are composed mostly of poor Negros and some Mexican-Americans. They take pride in the towers and look at them as a symbol of hope, light and guidance."  Included in this exciting event will be eight Leo Politi  paintings, painted at and inspired by his many visits to the Towers.  Also included in this important exhibition will be the artworks of over forty other artists.  Exhibition dates were August 23, 2009 to January 17,2010  at the Watts Towers Art Center, Noah Purifoy Gallery, Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center and Mingus Gallery.  On October 10, 2009 at the Watts Towers Art Center there was an Artist Reception as well as an Artist Panel, moderated by Cecil Ferguson, Community Curator.  There was also a History Panel on "The Stress Test" moderated by Dr. Luisa Del Guidice, Ethnographer and Oral Historian.

To coincide with the Bunker Hill/First  Floor Gallery exhibition and the Leo Politi Centennial, the Los Angeles Central Library’s children’s room featured eleven glass cases of Leo Politi books.  Most of Leo Politi’s twenty children’s books that he was both the author and illustrator were being featured. Also included were some of  the children’s books that Politi had only illustrated. (Click here)  Leo Politi postcards are now available at the bookstore. (click)


On January, 22, 2008 Linda Scambray of the Friends of the Leo Politi Library read "Little Leo" to the students of Wolters Elementary School. She explained to the students that "Little Leo" was a true story that started in Fresno and took place when when Leo was their age and how Leo Politi grew up to be a world famous artist and author.  Linda encouraged the students to read more and also to write their own stories. Ivan and Rose  Rowe, friends of Leo's friend Arnie Nixon, donated "Little Leo", "Juanita", "Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street" and Ann Stalcup’s biography entitled, "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels" to the school library for Leo Politi’s 2008 Centennial. Wolters' librarian, Sandy Prieto, promised to calendar more Leo Politi book readings for the centenary with a special presentation to thank the Rowe family.

On June 9, 2008, Ann Stalcup gave four presentations at Lockhurst Elementary School in Woodland Hills. One of the many welcome signs at the school said "Thank you for sharing Leo Politi with us." The librarian, Karla Forbes, had spent many weeks preparing for Stalcup's visit.  She and the teachers had read many of Leo Politi's stories to the students. The school was festive with posters, and in the library, Leo's books were on display. One corner of the library had been decorated to look like Olvera Street. Many Mexican items were on display such as pottery, small blankets, dolls, cacti, and sombreros. Hanging above them were a piñata and papel picado streamers (paper cut-outs). A number of students had decorated shoe boxes to represent each of Leo's picture book stories. 

Theatre of the Puppets (formerly Teatro de los Puppets) for over 30 years  has taught, mesmerized and entertained hundreds of thousands of students in schools and public libraries all over Southern California with their timely, educational puppet shows. On many, many occasions,  Leo Politi sketched and enjoyed Theatre of the Puppets’ many productions, and especially The Reading Railroad with its puppet rendition of the book, "Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street". Most memorable for Leo was a performance at the Open House at the Hollywood Bowl. After that perform-ance, Leo used to say with a big smile, “Pedro performed at the Hollywood Bowl…. and he sang like an Angel.” On January 26, 2008 for the Grand Open-ing of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial at the Historic Landmark, the Pico House, Theatre of the Puppets Co-Founder Bill Sousa, Artistic Director Bob Stone, and two of Bill’s  grandchildren, Michael Sousa Jr., and Sara Serrander Sousa gave a special performance of  "Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street".  Bill came out of retirement to pay homage to the memory of his dear friend, Leo.  Sara, now a mother, as a young child was herself  “The Angel of Olvera Street” for several years. Mark your calendars now, so that  you don’t miss this most memorable day and historic performance. Come and see our beloved Pedro, his Grandfather, and other dear friends from this book “come alive”.

In 1959, Leo Politi met a little girl and her older brothers in the picturesque section of Los Angeles known as Chinatown. After a year of having sketched them, playing and interacting, one of Leo Politi's finest children's books, entitled "Moy Moy" was born. On January 26, 2008 Mary Joe as she is known today and her brothers will celebrate the Leo Politi centenary "Kick Off" by reading their now famous book in Helman Quan at the El Pueblo Historical Landmark. Bring the kids and come enjoy a very special day of festivities and share this precious moment in time.

The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial has been such a blessing to his family. One of the greatest blessings has been their interactions with the Yan Family.  In 1960, when Leo Politi created the book, "Moy Moy" (meaning little sister), it was based on a real family: three brothers of the Yan family, Frank, George, Harry and their little sister Mary Joe, who in the book is "Moy Moy".  From the centennial "kick off" on January 26, 2008 at the Pico House/El Pueblo Historical Park, Moy Moy and her brothers have played a major role in the celebration. They shared their precious memories with Leo's family, friends, and fans through the items personally received from Leo, along with their own collection of his works. These photographs and recollections help bring Leo Politi's paintings to life. Harry Yan has now created a website, and with permission by the Yan family, we invite everyone to view the exquisite collection of memories they continue to cherish. (Click for gallery photos)

 Leo Politi Elementary School is thrilled to be part of the Centennial Celebration. After all Leo Politi's appreciation of books, art, and children is present in all we do. Our kinder-garten students will be counting down the days 'til January 26. The official kick-off of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial. For our Leo Politi Centennial Festival, every class on campus will become experts on one Leo Politi book and will create a project celebrating his work. Our older students will get to know "Leo Politi's Los Angeles," from Olvera Street to Echo Park. Also, there will be other ways that we will celebrate Mr. Politi's centennial, but the students say, "for now, they are TOP SECRET."

Rene Rowland, Composer, Performer and Educator will conduct the Leo Politi   Elementary School Student Choir at the artist's 2008 Centennial Celebration on January 26, 2008 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Landmark. The students sang their school song that was co-written by Rene Rowland and Leo Politi. In addition, Rene also be read Politi's book "Emmet" for the children at the Hellman Quan, which is located in The El Pueblo Historical Park. (click here)

Charles Wright wrote and recorded the multi-million-selling hit record, "Express Yourself", now considered a modern day standard.  Charles Wright helped make Watts, California internationally famous.  Along with his group, The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, they had a string of world wide "hits". As an admirer of the late Leo Politi, Charles Wright will feature Leo Politi's painting of the "Watts Towers" in his soon to be released documentary video. In addition, he dedicated and sang his new composition "God Bless the Children" with the Frank D. Parent School Choir and the Leo Politi Elementary School Choir at the Leo Politi 2008 Centenary "Kick Off" event on January 26, 2008. (Click for video)

When we were young and lived in Chinatown, we often teased Moy Moy by saying "Hi gnu" (Chinese Toi Shan dialect for, 'Lets see the little fish'). We used this phrase to tease her about the day she fell in a wishing well in Chinatown while attempting to get a closer view of the fish in the well.  This was an inside story we thought only our family remembered.  To our surprise, we discovered only recently that Leo Politi had witnessed the incident and wrote about it on one of his watercolor drawings.  In July 2008 we came across the drawing we had never seen before at the Brea exhibit of Leo's art-work for his book, "Moy Moy." To learn more and to see the drawing including a detail account by Leo of the wishing well incident. (Click here)


Esteban Coronado and his adult group, Ballet Coco, along with his children’s group, Ballet Fiesta, has for many years been an integral part in developing the growth of diverse cultural events in Southern California. He is credited with playing a key role in maintaining traditional culture in the “Los Angeles Performing Arts Scene.” For close to thirty years Leo Politi was one of Esteban Coronado’s most loyal fans, attending all of   Ballet Fiesta’s dance performances. Coronado even made an exception and allowed Leo Politi to attend rehearsals and sketch the dancers. On January 26, 2008 at the Centennial opening at the Pico House, Esteban Coronado and his Folklorico dance troupe “Ballet Fiesta” celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial with a special performance for his long time friend and fellow artist.

The Mission Parish School of San Juan Capistrano is "one of the oldest" if not the oldest school in California. Located on the Historical grounds of the San Juan Capistrano Mission, it played a very special roll at the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial "Kick off festivities" on January 26, 2008.  Caldecott Medal Award Winner, "Song of the Swallows" was Leo Politi's most famous book.  The setting of the book was San Juan Capistrano Mission. It was during the making of this book that a very unique friendship between Politi and the Mission was born.  It lasted close to fifty years.  However even after Leo's passing the school continues to honor this bond by creatively honoring the book at many of their school events. Students, faculty and parents at Mission Parish School payed honor to Leo Politi as they made the "Song of the Swallows" come alive for the beginning of their dear friend's centennial. Details to follow at a later date. (Click here to view video)

The Tierra Blanca Dance Company, part of the Tierra Blanca Arts Center, celebrate Mexican Culture with music and dance. They saluted Leo Politi's life by interpreting his books through dance at the January 26, Leo Politi 2008 Centennial "Kick off" festivities at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Landmark. In 2008 they will also be performing at other Leo Politi Centennial events. (Click here)

Those of you who have visited Appleby books website know that for many years there has been a page and a half tribute to Leo Politi. Mr. Politi played a major role in the history of Appleby Books. In our early days as booksellers, we acquired a beautiful first edition of his book “Juanita". The copy was signed and inscribed with watercolor embellish-ments by Leo. We fell in love with Politi’s beautiful story of a Los Angeles child and the Blessing of the Animals and soon decided to specialize in children’s literature and illustrated books. We have been happy with our choice ever since and feel we have Leo Politi to thank for that. In 2008, Appleby Books is planning to join his many appreciative fans in celebrating Leo Politi’s 2008 Centennial. Part of the January 26th premier festivities will include cultural entertainment from Leo Politi books and special book readings for the children. May Ellam, Appleby Book’s founder said, “on this very special day, it is going be my honor to read Leo Politi’s “Juanita” to the children of Los Angeles.”

Las Angelitas del Pueblo, is a group of Angelinos that show their love for the history of Los Angeles by giving docent tours of the historical buildings at El Pueblo de Los Angeles.  Part of their tours includes visiting the Leo Politi painted "Blessing of the Animals" mural on historical Olvera Street. As part of the groups celebration of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial, Las Angelitas del Pueblo invited Paul Leo Politi, the son of artist, muralist, author and illustrator to speak at Las Angelitas del Pueblo's first quarterly/luncheon meeting.  Included in Paul Politi's talk was showing a video and photos of his father and portions of the "new" Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation Oral History DVD. The meeting was held at the Hellmon Quon Building on January 28th 2008. El Pueblo/Olvera Street Celebration


During the month of January 2008, the Chinatown Branch Library celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial with three displays on the Caldecott Medal award. One display case exhibit featured a collection of Caldecott Medal Award winning books, with a “special” tribute to the just announced 2008 Award winner. This special exhibit spotlighted Leo Politi’s award winning books,  plus "one of a kind documents" on loan from his family. One of the highlights of this special exhibit was Leo Politi’s original paintings from "Song of the Swallows" along with the actual Caldecott Award Medal. 

The Chinatown Branch Library, as part of their Chinese New Year Celebration, exhibited some of Leo Politi’s Artwork on Chinatown’s community.  The “Special Two Day Exhibit” on Friday and Saturday, February 8 and February 9, 2008. was attended by members of the Leo Politi Family. They were at the library to  meet the public and answer questions about the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial. Also, during the month of February, there was a reading of Leo Politi’s book "Moy Moy" by  Mary Joe who is the original Moy Moy for whom the book was based. The reading was followed by a craft activity by GAB volunteer Marge Lew on how to make a fantastic Chinese dragon out of beads, pipe cleaner and curling ribbon. 



Levi Bischof, Leo Politi's great grandson, sitting with the pumpkins at Harmony Farms Country Store in Mountain Center, California. Harmony Farms is a family run business where people come for farm fresh eggs, wild bird feed and gifts for their friends and family. As we celebrate Leo Politi's Centennial, Harmony Farms is proud to be selling his beloved books and postcards of his artwork. All are welcome to join us in celebrating this momentous event and admire the treasures Leo Politi has created for all to enjoy.


Mission San Juan Capistrano on May 3, 2008 combined their popular "Battle of the Mariachis" with a special one day Leo Politi art exhibit to help celebrate The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  In 1950 his book "Song of the Swallows" that was set at Mission San Juan Capistrano was awarded the coveted Caldecott Medal.  To help celebrate The Leo Politi's milestone centenary, his family hand picked from his over sixty years of sketching on Olvera Street, his most festive paintings. The art together with the wonderful and authentic Mariachi music at the Jewel of the Missions setting, was an art exhibit not to be forgotten.


On May 10, 2008, under the sponsorship of the Literary Guild of Orange County, the 15th Annual Festival of Women's Authors participated in the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial by presenting Ann Stalcup, author of "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels", as one of the eight featured speakers. Ann was the events only Children's Book Author.  She gave a talk and slide presentation on the "Life and work of Leo Politi". The event was open to the public, but attendance was limited to 500.  Registration began in late February and filled very quickly.


February 28, 2008: Leo Politi-themed tea party for Life Members of the Arne Nixon Center Advocates at the home of Denise Sciandra, ANCA president in Fresno, California.  The Arne Nixon Center Advocates is the "Friends" group for the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature, a research collection housed in the Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno. It was established in 200l with a donation of 22,000 children's books and a $1,000.000 dollar endowment from Professor Arne Nixon. Leo Politi's books and artwork are an important part of this collection. Once a year, ANCA has a special program to show its appreciation of its Life Members. In this centennial year of Leo Politi's birth, they decided to honor Leo. Thirty-five Life Members gathered at the Sciandra residence that was transformed into an English tea room. On each table was a potted plant in a planter decorated with Politi artwork. A vase decorated with his artwork and filled with a blossoming branch was centerpiece on the food table.  Bookmarks hung from it that were created for the occasion with a picture of Politi's "Three Little Girls in Pink". The china cabinet was filled with Denise's Politi books, artfully arranged among pink blossoms. To end the afternoon, Denise showed a PowerPoint slide presentation featuring Leo Politi's stories set in Los Angeles and including personal photos taken in Los Angeles of Politi on Olvera Street during The Blessing of the Animals, Angel's flight, Politi's home on Edgeware Road and the sidewalk that he decorated with mosaic tiles.

As part of the celebration of Leo Politi's 2008 Centennial, Long Beach Librarian Suzanne McMillan, has donated to the Politi family the painting of "Poncho" and his little dog.  The Politi family gratefully accepted the painting and has named it "Poncho from Long Beach" and named the dog, "McMillan." The family will take "Poncho from Long Beach" and McMillan" to their favorite framer for "Poncho from Long Beach" to pick out a frame that he feels at home in.  (If "Poncho from Long Beach" would like matting, he may also choose matting.) Once "Poncho from Long Beach" is framed, the Politi family will make arrangements with future event organizers to display "Poncho from Long Beach" and his dog "McMillan." Where they can then look forward to meeting Leo Politi fans.



Leo Politi's long time close friend Jack Weiss, released one hundred white doves as part of the Los Angeles City's dedication of Leo Politi Square.  Weiss selected one hundred doves, symbolic of Politi's love of nature and his one hundred year birthday.  Ninety eight doves returned home safely and two doves chose to remain at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue to watch over Leo Politi Square.


The City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works and the Public Affairs Office, in the spirit and commitment to keep Los Angeles beautiful, have granted The Leo Politi Neighborhood Association, in the historic Westmoreland Place  neighborhood bound by Hoover, Pico, Vermont & Olympic, another 27 trees that were planted to further beautify the neighborhood. The project was completed in time for the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Celebration.

Echo Park Historical Society as part of the year long celebration of long time Echo Park resident Leo Politi, featured son, Paul Politi, as guest speaker. He showed a DVD of his father and participated in a question and answer session. The event was part of the Echo Park Historical Society's quarterly meeting on Wednesday, February 13th. The EPHS meeting was held in the Library of Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way in Los Angeles. In addition the Echo Park Historical Society participated in other planned Echo Park events honoring Leo Politi including The Angeleno Heights open house walking tour, The Angeleno Heights Trolley Car "Plaque Dedication and City of Los Angeles Dedication of "Leo Politi Square" at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. These events took place on the weekend of May 17 and 18, 2008.

Visit the beautiful Victorian homes from Leo Politi's book "Angeleno Heights".  Displayed inside each house were the original Leo Politi painting from his book. This was a once in a lifetime tour of Los Angeles' most filmed and beautiful sections. Included in the tour was a stop at Leo Politi's former residence with his original mosaic artwork in the yard. Here, guests were able to meet the Politi family where they shared more paintings of the neighborhood that their father loved so much. May 17th and 18th, 2008.(click here)

In celebrating the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial, the nonprofit Angeleno Heights Trolley Line, Inc. dedicated a special plaque on one of the antique trolley seats that will be used on their vintage streetcar. The plaque will read, “Leo Politi – Preservationist”. The group's goal is to restore an original trolley car that they own and return vintage trolley service to their historic Angeleno Heights neighborhood. As part of their fund-raising activities they were selling a limited edition print of Leo Politi's painting of the trolley car from his art book entitled, “Angeleno Heights”.  May 17th and 18th, 2008.


On January 23 2008, Ann Stalcup presented three assemblies on Leo Politi for Grades K-5. She concluded by reading “Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street” to the youngest groups so that they could hear the simplicity and beauty of one of  Politi’s stories.  After her visit Ann Stalcup received many wonderful letters from several of the classes. Her favorite letter said, “You were better than a blooming flower in the days of spring.”

In honor of Leo Politi's Centennial, various classes at the Leo Politi Elementary School have memorized his "No Barriers" first written and published in 1934. They have performed it at some of the school events including "Leo Politi's Friends Around the World."  They have also performed it by memory at the Angeleno Heights tour dedication ceremony for the Trolley and twice at the City of Los Angeles' "Leo Politi Square Dedication" at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue. "No Barriers" by Leo Politi",   "From a playground we watch the children play. Some are light others dark-but they are all beautiful.  All of them have a live force animating their little bodies.  All of them run, play, laugh, and cry, and yet if outwardly they look different, they have within the same emotions of life.  Each enjoys living, all will later be in the arms of the mothers who love them, live for them and raise them to be good and kind.  If we can only understand this force that makes them live the same love between mother and child, the same desire that you and I have to live; the love, aspirations, and dreams like your mother with you, my mother with me, then no dogmas, no prejudices, no fears can stand barriers between man and man." (Click here for video)

"Characters will come Alive"  In honor of Children's book author and illustrator Leo Politi's Centenary. As part of the children's summer reading club of the Robertson Branch of Los Angeles Public Library. "Moy Moy", from Leo Politi's classic children's book, steps out of the pages to entertain us with some magical stories of her own.  This year would have been author and illustrator  Leo Politi's 100th Birthday. The event was held , July 10 at 1719 S. Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90035.

The Centennial Room Display cases in The Pasadena Central Public Library  featured some of Leo Politi's Victorian architecture artwork for the month of May and June. The exhibit  spotlighted three of Politi's books that dealt with victorian architecture in Southern California. The exhibit featured original artwork and writings from Leo Politi's  books on Bunker Hill, Angeleno Heights and Redlands. 2008 is the Leo Politi Centennial year. It was the first time his original artwork from all three books were viewed by the public at the same time. Each book's artwork was on special exhibit in 2008. This Centennial Room exhibit served as preview to all three "must see" exhibits.

Koehnline Museum Celebrated Leo Politi with a seven-week celebration of works by international artist and author Leo Politi (1908-1996). It went on display Thursday, May 8, at the Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines. Leo Politi: Mexican Images of Olvera Street is an exhibit of Politi's gouache drawings, carvings, and books from the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Fresno, California, Politi was a child when his family moved to Italy, where he studied art. Upon his return to Los Angeles, Politi began capturing the images of Mexican immigrants who settled in the Olvera Street district. The public was invited to a free reception with refreshments, Thursday, May 8. This free exhibit was part of "Leo Politi 2008 Centennial" events, and ran through June 26.

For the month of June 2008 the Parker Branch Library of the Douglas County  participated in the Leo Politi Centennial with a special exhibit of the Leo Politi Caldecott Medal Award book "Song of the Swallows". The exhibit contained original illustrations from the book as well as the coveted Caldecott Medal  on loan from the Leo Politi family.  In addition to the Caldecott Medal, The Regina Medal awarded in 1966 to Leo Politi by the Catholic Library Association was also on exhibit.


In the month of June, 2008 the Glendale Public Library celebrated The Leo Politi’s 2008 Centennial with a special display of many of his children’s books . The exhibit included original artwork and sketches from some of his books. Included in the large display case exhibit were one of a kind items on loan from the Leo Politi family that would educate our young readers to some of the steps taken by Mr. Politi in creating a book.

On March 7, 2008 the Los Primeros Magnet School became part of the Leo Politi Centennial as author and Leo Politi biographer, Ann Stalcup spoke at two assemblies. Ann's talk on Leo Politi was followed by a question and answer period. Later a wonderful lunch was prepared for Ann and the teachers by the P.T.A. Fresno County Library.

The City of Brea presented a Leo Politi Centennial Art  Exhibit at the City of Brea Art Gallery. The exhibit spotlighted Leo Politi's fine art... This was the most comprehensive Leo Politi fine art exhibition to date.  This special centennial collection included works from the early 1930's through many seldom seen paintings of the 1990's.  The gallery also displayed a few of Politi's children's books, from inception to completion, including sketches, character studies, story boards, correspondence and finished art.  Exhibit ran from July 12, 2008 through July 27, 2008. Leo Politi postcards are now available at the bookstore. (click)

On August 23, 2008, the Thousand Oaks Library joined the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Celebration. Our library has enjoyed a friendship with Leo Politi over the years.  He made many visits to our library and  we were very excited to participate in this celebration. Ann Stalcup author of “Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels” gave a lecture along with her wonderful slide presentation and autographed her book.  Members of the Leo Politi family, Paul and Suzanne  attended to share some personal stories and artwork with us.  (click here)

This is the year to celebrate two of the Valleys most beloved authors; Leo Politi and William Saroyan. Fresno County is leading an international celebration of Saroyan and is also participating in a nationwide celebration of Politi. Valley organizations will join the library in hosting a diverse array of local special events honoring the 100th anniversary year of their births. Chinese New Years party.

JANM profiled the late artist, Leo Politi and the contributions that he  has made to their community. Japanese American National Museum's "Best in Americas Spirit" continued with a salute to Leo Politi with a small exhibit of his paintings, sketches, and his Children's book "Mieko" in the Japanese American National Museum lobby during Nisei Week. The exhibit ran from the beginning of Nisei Week August 16 through 31, 2008 


CSUF Radio Station KFSR 90.7 interviewed Librarian Jeanne Johnson and Linda Scambray on the Leo Politi Centennial scheduled for broadcast on August 30th and August 31st. You can also listen through their website at after Friday, August 30th. Jeanne Johnson and Linda Scambray discussed the Leo Politi branch library as well as the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.

Book lovers celebrated the centennial of Leo Politi's birth with a special exhibition at the Santa Monica Antiquarian Book, Print, Photo and Paper Fair September 6-7.  The public  had the opportunity to view a special display of signed Leo Politi books, artwork and other material at the book fair, hosted annually by Bustamante Enterprises in conjunction with hundreds of antiquarian book-sellers from around the world.  The Politi family shared many personal items and memories of the Caldecott-award-winning author and illustrator, whose beloved work celebrates the rich cultural diversity of Los Angeles. Collectors were also invited to bring pictures of their own inscribed Politi collectibles to the book fair, along with their personal stories to be considered for inclusion in a forthcoming work the Politi family is preparing about his autographed books. The book fair was held Saturday, Sept. 6th and Sunday, Sept. 7th at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street in Santa Monica. (click to see more of Leo's inscriptions)

The Torrance Public Library celebrated The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial on Saturday. September 6, 2008.  Author Ann Stalcup discussed the life of artist and children's book author-illustrator Leo Politi, (1908-1996).  Ann Stalcup gave a lecture on Leo Politi's unique vision of Los Angeles, and how his work developed into an iconic representation of places such as Olvera Street, Chinatown, Bunker Hill, and Mission San Juan Capistrano.  The Friends of the Torrance Library Annual Meeting and election of Officers preceded this informative program.  Reservations were not required and refreshments were served.  Ann Stalcup's book, "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels", was available for sale at the event along with other examples of Politi's work.

On September 13, 2008, the Santa Monica Public Library celebrated the "Leo Politi 2008 Centennial"  with special events and displays. Ann Stalcup author of "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels" presented a slide show and lecture on  Mr. Politi, and  autographed her book as part of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial celebration.

Caravan Book Store on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles is proud to participate in the centennial celebration of author and artist Leo Politi.  He was a friend of the proprietor and his family, and Mr. Politi often visited the store.  Now the second and third generations of the 54-year-old business will continue to honor Mr. Politi's work with 5" X 7" colorful postcards of his paintings as well as some of his books and books about him in the world famous Biltmore Hotel display case.Leo Politi postcards are now available at the bookstore. (click)


The Torrance Public Library presented a story and craft event entitled "Parade of the Animals."  Children of all ages were welcomed to join artist Peggy Hasegawa to hear stories from Leo Politi's children books and to make a craft based on the parade and "Blessing of the Animals" the annual event at historic landmark Olvera Street in Los Angeles.  The event took place,September 19, 2008 at Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance Blvd.,Torrance. No registration was required and all material was provided.


Early this year, the Idyllwild Branch Library of the Riverside County Library system celebrated the 100th anniversary of Leo Politi's birth by featuring a display of the art and books of this artistic and cultural southland treasure. The library owns three pieces of original art given to us many years ago for the enjoyment of the community, one which was specifically dedicated to the Children of Idyllwild. On September 27th, the Friends of the Idyllwild Library commemorated the anniversary of this brilliant artist's birth when it featured a short question and answer interview with Mr. Politi's daughter, Suzanne, who lives in nearby Mountain Center. Suzanne (pictured right, standing next to the Leo Politi dedicated tree across from Olvera Street) shared with the people of Idyllwild some of her personal remembrances of life with her father. (click here for more photos of Leo Politi tree at Olvera Street)

Escondido "The City of Choice" and the Escondido Public Library celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial with a Leo Politi art exhibit  September 2 thru 30, 2008. The exhibit featured Escondido Public Library owned Leo Politi paintings as well as borrowed paintings from art collectors and the Leo Politi Family. Also on display was original artwork from Politi's beloved children books. Leo Politi book readings and other children events are being planned, dates and times will be announced. For exhibit photos (click)

As part of the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial Celebration, the Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation (OSMAF) will produce  an Oral History DVD that will feature families  and friends that inspired Leo Politi's art and literature for more than half a century. The gleeful, warm response from children as they see themselves reflected in his gentle stories continues to be a wellspring of the beauty of the human spirit. The documentary will tell of the quiet legacy of a man who graced their lives and affected so many visitors with his little drawings and stories of the children and families of Olvera Street and Los Angeles. The DVD will be shared with Schools, Libraries & with many scheduled Centennial Celebrations through out the out the United States. (click here)


Florida-Brockway Memorial Library of Miami Shores celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial celebration with an art exhibit and puppet show. A puppet show performance of "Little Leo", with the library's collection of antique marionettes, was ideal in the spirit of Leo and a huge hit with all attending children. Brockway's Anne Kelly presented art examples and background history of Leo Politi; while Martin Politi, grandson of Leo, and friend of Anne Kelly and the Brockway Memorial Library, shared some memories and personal stories of his grandfather. Also unveiled, the Politi's family's donation of a selection of Leo's art for the Library's permanent display, and a month long display of Leo's art, books, family  photographs and other personal items.  At the reception following, Brockway Memorial Library was also proud to announce the annual celebration of Leo Politi's work to coincide with the birthday celebration of library founder, George A. Brockway. To view pictures of the exhibit (click)

Marge Bitetti in her "new" Arcadia Book  entitled "Images of America", Italians in Los Angeles" was one of the first to acknowledge the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  In her book Bitetti devotes eleven pages to Politi and his art, including his acclaimed mural "The Blessing of the Animals" and painting of Simon Rodia's "Watts Towers".  For close to 60 years,  Politi's paintings (and books) celebrated Los Angeles's rich cultural diversity.  Included in the book are paintings of Angels Flight, Chinatown,  Little Tokyo, Olvera Street and Bunker Hill.

On October 4, 2008, Arte Americas, at 1630 North Van Ness, Fresno, in the tradition of folklore and ritual, Ann Stalcup  put together a Day of the Dead altar in remembrance of the contributions of locally born famous children's author Leo Politi in honor of his 2008 centennial.  In his many children's books, which were on display, Politi made enormous contributions to cultural awareness.  Ann showed how altars and Leo's story "Three Stalks of Corn" could be the basis of a multicultural teaching unit for the fall classroom or library reading group.  Participants completed four art projects and took home their four art projects to use with K through 6 students.  Free lunch using the taco recipe from Leo Politi's book, "Three Stalks of Corn" was provided. (click here)

On Sunday, October 5, 2008, The Leo Politi Branch Library, had a special Leo Politi Day - Open House. Ann Stalcup, author of "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels" and the Leo Politi family participated in the libraries' "Meet and Greet." Included in the event was a special Ann Stalcup slide presentation, multi cultural finger food, Ann Stalcup autographed her book, mingling with the Leo Politi family and others with special surprises. This event was a part of the Politi Branch Libraries celebration of the LEO POLITI 2008 CENTENNIAL.   (Fresno Bee) (click for event photos)

On Saturday, October 11th, the Huntington Park Public Library hosted a

special tribute presentation about the life and work of Leo Politi, followed with a book reading. The presentation was audio-visually supported and bilingual, with the participation of members of the Leo Politi family. The event was organized by Cervantes Center of Arts and Letters in conjunction with the Politi family and the Huntington Park Public Library. It was followed by a reception.


Leo Politi spent many hours at Mission San Juan Capistrano doing research and creating the characters of his Caldecott Medal winning, "Song of the Swallows".  Paul Politi says that his father had many wonderful memories of the Mission.  He shared some of these memories with the Mission Docent Society on Thursday afternoon, October 23, 2008, in the Mission's Soldiers Barracks.  This date coincides with the feast day of St. John of Capistrano, and is the day that signals the return of the famous swallows to their southern home in Goya, Argentina.  A quote from the book: "Farewell, Golondrinas, For you will we yearn, May God bless your Journey, And guide your return."  The public was invited with paid admission to the Mission.  Please  visit their web-site for more information:  Mission Preservation Society members are admitted free.

On Saturday, October 25, 2008, the Olvera Street Merchants began the Dia De Los Muertos Novenario and Leo Politi's family and friends were invited to be the first Olvera Street family to honor a beloved deceased this year. The procession began in front of the historical landmark, Avila Adobe. From there it went to the place for the indigenous blessing and proceeded in procession past the tree and up the street, past the cross, and placed a bouquet of Zempatzuchil in a designated spot in the plaza area in a ritual that honors the late artist. The group then returned to enjoy free champurrado and pan de muertos. (click here)

On Friday, October 31, the Community Altars was raised in the Plaza area.  Leo Politi had his own altar in a designated space.  Leo's son Paul, along with the Olvera Street Merchants and friends were invited to build the altar in his memory.  It stayed up until November 3rd.  Fans and friends of Leo were asked for objects and photos that reflected Leo Politi's life. Every thing should be copies or replaceable items as the altars are up for three days. We have security but if there is something valuable that you want to share, be sure to have someone watch over it. Norma Garcia copied some of the jackets of his books and coordinated the various objects of the altar.

On Wednesday November 5th, Ann Stalcup gave a talk for young adults and adults on the life and work of children's author/illustrator, Leo Politi Ann is the author of the biography, "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels". Ann's talk was illustrated by color slides and a book signing followed her talk.


Leo Politi's 100th birthday was celebrated in November at two events at the Chinatown Branch Library.  Friday November 7, 2008, Mary Yan Joe read Leo Politi's children book "Moy Moy", her true to life story set in Chinatown's Chung King Road during the community's celebration of Chinese New Year. And on Saturday November 8, 2008, Kelly, Gim Fong's daughter, read another of Leo's children's books "Mr. Fong's Toy Shop", a delightful story of the elder Fong and the children of Chinatown at the Moon Festival celebration on Chung King Road. In addition California State Senator Carol Liu presented some Leo Politi books to the Friends of the Chinatown Branch Library.

Brecksville Center for the Arts joined the Leo Politi Centennial celebration. Located in Brecksville, Ohio, Brecksville Center for the Arts was part of the 2008 centennial by offering classes and workshops designed to celebrate Leo Politi's life and work. Their popular After School Arts Program brings art classes to elementary students in local schools.  The instructor, artist Stephanie Sibits, will devote classes in 2007 and 2008 to the Leo Politi legacy. Artist/illustrator Amy Trosino will also celebrate the centennial by devoting classes in her "Story Art: Live in Tale Workshops" to the famous artist/illustrator. Art projects will be posted on the Brecksville Center for the Arts (BCA) website. Other art and literary activities are planned for the 2008 Centennial.  


"Los Angeles as Leo Politi's Landscape". Art class devoted to the work of Leo Politi; was held on Tuesday, November 18th for age 5 and up. The address of the Felipe de Neve Branch Library is 2820 West 6th St., Los Angeles 90066


The Encino Tarzana Branch Library remembered the centennial birthday of celebrated multicultural artist and author Leo Politi with  a "Leo Politi Birthday Storytime"  Tuesday, November 18th for ages K thru 3.  Three of his memorable books were read, a fun chalk art activity was presented and refreshments were served.  Leo's son Paul, was present and took questions from the audience.  Some of Mrs. Wendy Hirota's kindergarten class from Nestle Ave. School in Tarzana really enjoyed the birthday event.  


"Leo Politi Storytime and Crafts"  was held on Wednesday, November 19th.  Leo Politi's son, Paul attended.  All ages were welcome. The address of the Studio City Branch Library is 12511 Moorpark Street, Studio City, California 91604


An around the world, around the town special book reading event and surprises all celebrating THE LEO POLITI 2008 CENTENNIAL exhibit of Leo Politi's books, art and mural was held on Thursday, November 20. All ages were welcomed. The address of San Pedro Branch library is 931 South Gaffey Street, San Pedro, California 90731


In the Mar Vista Branch Meeting Room a "Leo Politi Centennial Celebration Storytime and Crafts"  was held on Friday, November 21st. The address of Mar Vista Branch Library is 12006 Venice Boulevard,  Los Angeles, California 90066


On November 21, 2008, a special presentation of the life and work of Leo presented by Cervantes Center of Arts and Letters, in conjunction with the Mexican Cultural Institute. The event took place on Leo Politi's 100th birthday at the Mexican Cultural Institute located in the historic Bizcaluis building on Olvera Street that also houses Leo Politi's major public work, "The Blessing of the Animals" mural. A reception followed and was attended by Leo Politi's immediate family. (clickhere)

On November 21, 2008, Leo Politi's 100th birthday, there was a celebration of the life of the author and artist. There were readings from his books; an exhibit of Politi's works and testimonials and memories shared from those who knew him including his son, Paul. A craft activity and birthday  refreshments followed.


On Leo Politi's 100th birthday, November 21st, The Tree People and Yahoo! participated in planting 33 new trees at the Leo Politi Elementary School  campus. Some of the trees that were planted included California Sycamores, Incense Cedars, Western Redbuds, Australian Willows, Gingkos, Purple-Leaf Plums, Brisbane Box Pines, Tebebuias (yellow blossoms), Italian Cypresses and Ornamental Pears.   In addition there was a  special  tree dedication to each class and also to Leo Politi's biographer Ann Stalcup.  Leo's daughter Suzanne and son Paul, were on hand to participate and celebrate this very special day and event with the students and faculty. Principal Bradley Rumble said, "It was another one of those amazing days at Leo Politi Elementary School.....YAHOOOOOO" !

On Saturday, November 22, 2008, the Leo Politi Branch Library, had a special Leo Politi Birthday Party for children K thru 6th grade. All participants heard Leo Politi stories, music and crafts. Then "Happy Birthday" was sung and cupcakes were decorated and enjoyed on the birthday of Leo Politi. The Politi Library is on the southwest corner of First and Bullard. (Click for schedule of events)  (Fresno Bee)

The Monterey Peninsula celebrated the artist, author and illustrator Leo Politi's Centennial as the Monterey Public Library  hosted a lecture by author and Politi biographer, Ann Stalcup in the community room on Wednesday, November 19, 2008.  Following Stalcup's talk, she signed copies of her book, "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels."  The public was invited to enjoy refreshments around the beautiful  mural created by Mr. Politi for their Children's Picture Book Room. There will also be an  exhibit in the lobby's display case that will tell the story behind the creation of the mural. The display included photos of Leo Politi, his sketches, letters from Mr. Politi and other items that gave an insight into the making of this treasured mural.  The exhibit was installed on  October 1, 2008 and ran through November 29, 2008.  There are also plans for a special children's reading of "A Boat For Pepe" and "The Butterflies Come"  two Politi books that are set on Monterey Peninsula.

On Sunday, December 7, 2008, the 4th Annual South Pasadena Arts Benefit was held  at the home of Drs. Harry and Ellin Lieberman. It is organized and hosted every year by the Liebermans, both retired pediatricians, to raise  money for Hurricane Katrina victims at the Louisiana Children's Hospital. The art is excellent and the event comes before the holidays so it is great for holiday gifts. "Live" music was provided by the South Pasadena Strings and local singer and songwriter Brad Colerick. Also local restaurants provided food for a nominal donation. Each year there is a “special” exhibit and this year, in honor of artist and author Leo Politi's Centennial Celebration, a special exhibit of some of Leo's original paintings and books was on display along with a photo story board of Leo's life. Leo's son Paul was a special guest and spoke with  attendees about his late father.

Once again Echo Park demonstrated another reason why in 2008 it was named in America Planning Association's "TOP TEN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS" with their Annual Echo Park Community Parade.  This year's theme was "Holiday Magic."  The late Los Angeles artist, muralist and award winning author-illustrator Leo Politi who would have been 100 years old this year, represented by his family was one of the three parade Ambassadors of the Annual Echo Park Community Parade.  Politi was a long time resident of Echo Park.  He authored and illustrated over twenty five books including his last historical art book "Angeleno Heights".  Leo Politi also wrote and illustrated "Emmet" a true children's story about a homeless dog that is centered in Echo Park's Angeleno Heights historical district. Each parade participant stoped at the corner of Sunset Boulevard & Echo Park Avenue (Leo Politi Square) and were be presented a trophy and then continued toward Park Avenue. The "Holiday Magic" was held on Saturday, December 13th at Elysian Park Avenue.


The  Los Angeles Lakers are proud to announce December’s Teacher of the Month winners: Elizabeth Williams ,Brenda Lopez, Kathy Wallace and Student of the Month winners: Kelsey Klunder, David Lopez and Emily Werman. This month’s winners demonstrate an outstanding commitment to academia, athletics, and community outreach. .Elizabeth Williams, a 2nd grade teacher at Leo Politi Elementary School is a gifted teacher who provides well-planned and inspired instruction to her students. Her hard work has paid dividends for her classroom of economically-disadvantaged students. Over 90% of her students score “proficient” or “advanced” in language arts and math on state achievement tests. The Students and Teachers of the Month were invited to the home game on December 14th against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They were honored during a halftime presentation where they received a plaque and a $50 gift certificate to Staples. The nominations for the December Student and Teacher of the Month were submitted by principals and teachers of each school based on exemplary efforts, achievements, and extracurricular activities. (Far right) Elizabeth Williams of the Leo Politi Elementary School  in Los Angeles.

Jim Dawson is a longtime Los Angeles writer of a dozen books on popular music and culture, including "What Was the First Rock'n'Roll Record?" has just finished writing a book on Angels Flight, published by Arcadia Press. Dawson also wrote articles for the Los Angeles Times and over a hundred album liner notes for various record companies around the world.  Leo Politi, who has been called by many "The Artist of the Angels" is featured in this book.  Dawson included photos of Leo Politi as well as  his paintings of Angels Flight.  The book was released August 11, 2008, during the Leo Politi Centennial year. Click here: ANGELS FLIGHT GOES TO THE MOVIES

Princeton University celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial with an exhibit entitled “Leo Politi’s Los Angeles.” The exhibit celebrated Leo Politi’s art and it’s diversity and ran from August 15, 2008 thru January 15, 2009. The exhibit featured some of the books authored and illustrated by Leo. To view some photos of the exhibit (click here)

Don Shorts and Dee Fisher, proprietors of the Old California Store and long time admirers and supporters of Leo Politi, sponsored the opening reception at the Carnegie Art Museum entitled, "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart". For years Don and Dee have sponsored Leo Politi art exhibits,  "The Leo Politi art collectors group," and were co-curators for the 2005 exhibit, "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels" at the Watts Towers Art Center.  The Watts Towers exhibit was presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the Italian Oral History Institute and was part of the Italians in Los Angeles Festival.  The Carnegie Exhibit featured Leo Politi's early period (1930's and 1940's) often found in homes furnished with Monterey furniture.  Serious collectors have credited The Old California Store as responsible for Monterey furniture becoming a California art form.

ON December 16-24, 2008 Pedro lead the Los Posadas in celebration of The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  In addition for this event a special edition printing of "Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street"  for the first time will  have pages which were previously printed in sepia tone, now printed in full color as Leo Politi's original art intended. (Click here for photos)

In December 2006 thru February 2007 the Rancho Mirage Library presented their acclaimed art exhibit "Leo Politi's Children."  In November 2008 thru February 2009 the City of Rancho Mirage as part of their celebration of Leo Politi's Centennial presented a continuation of their "Leo Politi's Children" exhibit with all new paintings.  The Centennial celebration will culminate with the installation of a Leo Politi's Bronze of " Children Reading" at the Rancho Mirage Library.  (click here)

The Leo Politi family, joined with the New Chinese Garden of glowing Fragrance that opened to the public in 2008. As part of Chinese New Years events in February 2009, Leo Politi's book, "Moy Moy" was featured in the program series.  Also participating was Mary Joe who, as a child, along with her three brothers Frank, George and Harry was the real  “Moy Moy”  in Leo Politi's book. Book reading and book signings along with a variety of other activities were scheduled. The Leo Politi Centennial will run through November 26, 2009.


Los Angeles Historian and author Virginia L. Comer participated in the celebration of Leo Politi's Centenary with speaking engagements at various Leo Politi centennial events.  Her 1996 book entitled "Angels Flight, a History of Bunker Hill's Incline Railway" was dedicated to Leo Politi.  The dedication page reads "To Leo Politi, artist and author, whose graceful art has preserved historic scenes of Angels Flight and Bunker Hill and imbued them with the richness of his own spirit, this book is dedicated with esteem." Virginia was one of the featured speakers at the Dedication of Leo Politi Square now located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue. (click here)

The Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California celebrated the Leo Politi 2008 Centennial with an exhibit entitled "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart", featuring never before seen examples of Leo Politi's fine art.  Included in the exhibit were paintings featured in his definitive monograph art book entitled, "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles". The exhibit ran from December 13, 2008 thru February 22, 2009.


Ann Stalcup author of "Leo Politi, ARTIST OF THE ANGELS" spoke in The Park School Library on Feb. 11th where she was enthusiastically hosted by the school librarian. She spoke to Grades K through 5.



The Westminster Meairs Elementary School spent a great deal of time preparing
for author Ann Stalcup's visit to their school on Feb. 11th. Ann said, "The
students were very familiar with Leo Politi's work and the staff and principal
could not have been more welcoming.

On February 19, 2009 in conjunction with the Carnegie Art Museum's exhibit of Leo Politi's early 1930's and 1940's artwork, Larry Bischof, co-author of the Angel City Press forth-coming full-color monograph "Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles" gave a presentation on the distinguished artist and illustrator. Larry, Leo's son-in-law, having closely known Leo for the last two decades of his life, contributed many personal insights about the famed and beloved artist whose paintings, illustrations and sculptures vividly articulate the multi-ethnic identity of Los Angeles. Larry assisted Leo on his 1980's Lummis Home exhibition. He has also helped to curate many Leo Politi Centennial art exhibits including the official centennial kick-off exhibit at the Pico House at the Historical El Pueblo de Los Angeles Landmark. Year 2008 was the centennial celebration of Politi's birth and was marked with numerous statewide and national exhibits and events. Bischof is an award winning Hollywood television and motion picture screenwriter whose credits include episodes for "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie."  In addition, Bischof produced the 1990's Leo Politi interview segment and the CD-rom "Mieko" which was produced in eight languages. Leo's children, son Paul and daughter Suzanne, were also present to answer questions regarding their father.


California Readers honored the 2009 Leo Politi Golden Author, David M. Schwartz at their annual "We love California Authors & Artists" luncheon on Saturday, February 28, 2009, which was held at the Pickwick Entertainment Center, Pickwick Gardens, 1001 Riverside Drive, Burbank.  Keynote Speaker was Susan Goldman Rubin.

Leo Politi Elementary School celebrated the installation of its new playground equipment for pre-K and Kindergarten students at a special ceremony on March 2, 2009.  Paul Nisenbaum, who shepherded the project and LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia joined hundreds of students, teachers and parents as they gathered to inaugurate the latest addition to this vibrant school community. The school's youngest students prepared banners and songs for their special day. In addition Paul Politi, son of Leo Politi was on hand to help celebrate the joyful day.

On November 21, in honor of Leo Politi's 100th birthday, the Tree People and Yahoo sponsored the planting of over 30 trees.  The tree planting continued all day with each class planting and naming their tree, and then being taught how to care for it.  The classes each chose a name for their tree.  Some trees were named after one of Leo Politi's picture books.  The first tree (a Podocarpus Gracilior - Fern Pine) was planted in honor of Ann Stalcup, author of the biography, "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels".  Ann was presented with a certificate and flowers in recognition of her role in helping the students to come to know the man and his work.

  • ANN STALCUP  (author of "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels")

Author Ann Stalcup, has worked as an elementary school teacher in England, Canada and the United States.  She has visited well over 100 countries and has numerous published magazine articles inspired by the trips that she has taken.  Silver Moon Press published "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels,"  Ann's 10th book.  Ann, already an admirer of Leo Politi's work, first met him in the early 1980's.  A friendship began and over the years she experienced many cherished meetings.  Like the man, the memories were unique and colorful.  Her book was based on those meetings, research, and on interviews conducted with his family, friends, and admirers.  His son Paul states, "Author Ann Stalcup has seen and experienced so many wonderful things on her travels that she could have written about; the fact that she wrote a book on my father is a great honor in itself." He continues, "What I love about her book is the simplicity she used in capturing the essence of my father, the same simplicity he used to capture the essence of a child." Ann will be giving a series of lectures and slide shows on Leo Politi  and autographing her book "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels" throughout California  for The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial. (book info)


David Katz of Silver Moon Press is proud to be the publisher of "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels", which showcases the life and work of Leo Politi.  He  takes great pride in his association with the lifelong achievements of this multi-talented author and artist, a man who was as comfortable writing for adults as he was for children.  In recognition of Leo Politi's 2008 Centennial, a special gold seal will be added to each book sold during the centennial year. (book info)

On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, one of the highlights of the Leo Politi Centennial Celebration at the Leo Politi Elementary School was when Dream A World founder, Grammy Award-Winner Bunny Hull brought a team of professional artists to the Leo Politi Elementary School. Through their six-week multi-arts residency, children learned music, dance, theatre and visual arts and    discovered the gifts that live within them. They learned the values of friendship, kindness, imagination and gratitude, as well as history, geography and social studies as they related to each arts work-shop. The residency included professional development, curriculum materials, a live performance, and culminated with a children's presentation. Music curriculum kicked it off when Bunny Hull created an original class song with each class. Each class received a professionally recorded version of their song at the end of the residency. The Secrets of the Heart's curriculum guide for K-2 links the arts experience to academic achievement and critical thinking skills in language arts, listening/speaking, history, social studies and the development of interpersonal skills. Simply put this program revealed the arts to children as it relates to culture and tradition, gave them a little geography and history and taught them, through self expression, how to have greater respect for themselves and each other. (click here for photos)

  • UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA (Elmer L. Andersen Library) 

To celebrate and honor Leo Politi, the Children's Literature Research Collections installed a display showcasing some of his original material in the Kerlan Collection. This exhibit was viewable to all visitors to Andersen Library. The complete holdings of the Politi Papers are listed in his online finding aid.( and are open to the public during regular business hours (8:30-4:30 M-F, appointments appreciated through The Kerlan Collection appreciates the generosity of Leo Politi and his estate and looks forward to future opportunities to share his delightful art.

Recently the El Pueblo Park Association (EPPA) proudly celebrated the 75th anniversary of the City of Los Angeles's treasured mural "America Tropical" by David Alfaro Siqueriros. On January 26,2008 the El Pueblo Park Association and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument are proud to celebrate and honor another treasure, the artist Leo Politi, who painted the 1978 Blessing of the Animals mural on the Biscailuz Building in El Pueblo.  The year 2008 marked Politi's Centennial with many events, exhibitions and festivities planned throughout the country.  The Official "Kick Off" for the Centennial was  held in the Pico House at El Pueblo where there was an exhibit mounted by the Politi family in honor of their father. The reception, also in the Pico House, was cosponsored by EPPA and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. (Click

Ann Stalcup was the only one of the seven presenting authors who wrote for children. Ann Stalcup's lecture  to an adults only audience at Whittier College was very well received and included William Soroyan's son, (Like Leo Politi his father was born in Fresno, California in 1908 and is celebrating his centennial.)

On April 17, 2009, the After School Garden Club at Lugonia Elementary in Redlands, Ca. hosted a reading of Leo Politi's book, "Moy Moy" by Mary Joe, the original Moy Moy that the book was based upon. The reading took place around the Leo Politi Weed Garden. The After School Garden Kids meet each Tuesday from 2:15p.m. to 4:00p.m. and are the primary caretakers of the garden. From planting to weeding they do it all. The kids all looked forward to and the planning for this very special event.

Delightful audiences attended Ann Stalcup's three talks on her book,"Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels. "  She was made to feel very welcome at the school and both children and teachers were extremely interested in Leo's life and work. The students were very responsive to the questions that Ann asked.

On Tuesday, May 19, 2009 author Ann Stalcup spoke about the life and work of her longtime friend, Los Angeles author and artist Leo Politi at the Los Angeles Public Library, Platt Branch in Woodland Hills. Her book "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels" was available for purchase afterwards. Paul Politi, Leo's son attended. This free program was co-sponsored by the Platt Library an the Friends of the Library.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009  Paul Politi, son of Leo Politi spoke about the life and work of his late father to the membership of the Woodland Hills Rotary Club.



The Covina Public Library missed Leo Politi's centennial birthday in 2008 but they figured, "why not do on the centennial-plus-one," said Fred Feldhein of the Covina Cultural Arts Advisory Commission. The commission and the Friends of the Covina Public Library sponsored the "Celebrating the Life of An Artist" art and book exhibit of Leo Politi's work on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the library. Politi, who died in 1996, would have turned 101 years old on Nov. 21. Young and old alike celebrated with self-guided tours of Politi's paintings and books on display, free activities for children and young artists, and a watercolor demonstration by Bob Orso. Politi had visited the library many times. The event featured Leo Politi paintings, many with children and animals playing, that he had painted and dedicated to "the children of the Covina Public Library "Baked goods and refreshments were also served during the celebration. Children's librarian Dominique McCafferty gave a small slide presentation on Politi's life story and read from two of his award-winning books. Special guest Mary Yan Joe was also present to read from Politi's book "Moy Moy," inspired by Yan Joe and her family. It was written and illustrated by Leo Politi when Mary Yan Joe was four years old.(click for full story)

Starting August 2007, the Pasadena Library, as preview to their 2008 Leo Politi Centennial Celebration, had a special  Leo Politi exhibit throughout the library. All eight of the libraries display cases featured Leo Politi  books, paintings, carvings and many one of a kind items.  In addition only the work of Leo Politi was presented in the libraries portion of the Pasadena Art Night (L.A. Skin: Multicultural FESTIVAL) on October 12, 2007. The event is an on going partnership among many cultural institutions and the Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Pasadena. Tierra Blanca Dance Company presented their world premier dance tribute in honor of Leo Politi's stories and music in his books. Ann Stalcup, author of "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels," and storyteller extraordinaire captivated the audience with a slide show and stories about Leo Politi's life and work. In addition, a special four hour "Art Night-Leo Politi" exhibit was presented by the Leo Politi family.

OSMAF, has published 8 “new” Leo Politi special collector edition postcards for The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial celebration. The new Centennial set brings the total to 48 Leo Politi Postcards. The artwork selected spotlights Politi’s love for  the city of Los Angeles and it’s diversity.  All of (OSMAF) proceeds from the sale of  the postcards will  be used  for  the foundations educational, cultural and historical programs.  Their goal is to spotlight the cities harmonious diversity and the appreciation of  the historic significance of Olvera Street, the city’s birthplace, and its importance in the formation of Los Angeles. (click to view postcards)

The Tierra Blanca Dance Company, part of the Tierra Blanca Arts Center is a non- profit organization dedicated to helping low income children discover and promote  Mexican Culture and traditions through music and dance.  The young dancers learn and appreciate the regional dances of Puebla, Jalisco, Chiapas, Chinacas, Calabaceados to name a few. The Tierra Blanca Art Center admires Leo Politi’s books for promoting values and  his love of culture and tradition.  Blanca Araceli Soto will honor Leo Politi by interpreting his books through dance and music. On October 12, 2007 as part of the City of Pasadena’s Art night, they performed Leo Politi’s books at the Pasadena Library.  The Tierra Blanca Dance Company will continue to celebrate Leo Politi's art by interpreting his books through dance. They will be performing at other Leo Politi celebrations. (click here)

Some may be surprised to learn that the Politi mural on display at the South Pasadena Library is significantly different than the one he originally painted in 1957 (for the sum of $200.00). When Leo was asked to touch up the original mural for the grand opening for the Library's 1982 expansion project, he characteristically took on the job without asking for a fee. He planned on spending only 2 or 3 hours, but ended up devoting weeks, almost completely repainting the mural in the process. The differences between the 1957 and 1982 paintings are rather striking. The earliest depiction features minimalistic youthful figures in muted tones, while the update is more contemporary with flowing lines and lush, bright green hues. Nevertheless, both versions capture the universal charm of children with books.


Editions du signe in association with The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has just published The History of The Archdiocese of Los Angeles 1840 –2007, by Msgr. Francis J. Weber. Chapter 3 entitled Clergy, Religious & Laity,  acknowledges the contributions of Leo Politi.  Msgr. Francis J. Weber states of  Politi, “He was an indigenous part of California’s landscape who will never die or be diminished in the hearts and souls of his public.” A quote from Timothy Cardinal Manning about Leo Politi is also included in the book


Additional Leo Politi Planned Events

Thanks to the efforts of Riverside historians, along with devoted citizens, and art lovers, an art treasure in Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's gift shop in the historical Loring Building at Main Street in Riverside is in the process of being uncovered.  CeeAnn Theil, 32 years the proprietor of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's gift shop, had no idea that artist Leo Politi's 1940's colorful jungle mural (painted floor to ceiling) on her walls was being preserved, tucked away behind the shop's wonderful treasures.  The investigation to find the missing mural began as a result the 2008 Leo Politi Centennial and all the events across our country that sparked a renewed interest in Leo Politi's early murals.  Only the long time residents of Riverside will remember a small candy shop known as "Talavera Sweet Shop."  Florence Bayz opened the small candy store on a shoestring budget. It was a sparkling jewel of a shop.  For the next 16 years the candy shop and later the new large restaurant with soda fountain prospered.  For Iowa native Florence Bayz and later for a young artist Leo Politi, "Talavera Sweet Shop" was a very special place.  They were both recovering from the effects of the Great Depression. In 1940 in order to accommodate the increasing number of diners in Bayz's popular restaurant, Florence enlarged her shop by adding the "Tropical Room" and commissioned Leo Politi to paint a mural for it.  Leo's artwork was being featured in the Rob Wagner's Script magazine.  Wagner who directed many Will Rogers films and worked for years with Charlie Chaplin referred to Leo as "The Artist of Olvera Street." Pancho and Lupita, were two of Politi's characters on Script Magazine covers.  Florence Bayz asked that they also be included on the "Tropical Room" mural among the brilliant color flowers and birds that would brighten up the Talavera Sweet Shop.  Politi later went on to author and illustrate over twenty five books, (21 of them were children's books) As a result Leo Politi was the recipient of the coveted Caldecott Medal,  Two Honor Books, The Regina Medal and the Focal Award.  Silver Moon Press published Ann Stalcup's recent biography on Leo entitled "Leo Politi, Artist of the Angeles." Angel City Press will be publishing a fine art's monograph entitled "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles." The Getty Museum in 2009 republished "The Song of the Swallows,"  "Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street,"  "Juanita" and "Emmet."  In Fresno where Politi painted many early murals at Fresno City College, historians are researching and also trying to recover his early murals.  There is a library in Fresno named for him and a soon to be Leo Politi garden at the University of California, Fresno.  There is a Los Angeles Public School named for him as well as a Los Angeles City Park.  In addition they named the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Echo Park Avenue "Leo Politi Square." Leo Politi's ties to the Inland Empire continued with another 1984 mural in the Children's room at the A.K. Smiley Library in Redlands and a 1983 art book entitled "Redland"s Impressions" published by Moore Historical Foundation.  Leo Politi's only daughter Suzanne and her family reside in Riverside County.  Prior to Politi's passing in 1996, he searched for the Riverside mural that he had painted decades ago. During the 2008-2009 Leo Politi Centennial events took place from the California State Capitol in Sacramento to Princeton University in New Jersey. During the Leo Politi Centennial, Florence Bayz's daughters Barbara Singletary and Adriana Wilson attended a number of Leo Politi Centennial events and furnished photographs, menus and information about the long lost mural in Riverside and their mother's beloved Talavera Sweet Shop. The result was Hal Durian writing a column about the possibility of the mural still existing across the street from the Mission Inn.  This led to further discoveries with the latest being a preliminary finding that indicates that there's a strong possibiltiy of the mural preserved intact, behind a false wall.  If this is confirmed by art conservators, then Riverside will be adding another chapter to its rich history.  As a result of the possibility of the mural find, there is talk of art exhibits and library events that will coincide with the unveiling of the mural.  Special thanks to all of the people who have helped up to this point.... Including Adriana Bayz Wilson, Ian Davidson, CeeAnn Thiel, Barbara Moore, Hal Durian, Leonard Herandez, Barbara Bayz Singletary, Joe and Ellen Daigle, Mark Ostoich, Ann Stalcup, Dr. Larry Burgess, Larry Bischof, Molly Wilson and especially Florence Bayz.  (click here for photos of mural)


Leo Politi Elementary School's Academic Performance Index (API) gained 20 points, from 677 to 697.  The school community is aiming to be way up in the 700's next autumn! (click for photos)

In February, 1996 at the reopening of the historic Angels Flight Railway on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, a frail, old artist...who many have called "The Artist of the Angels"-- stepped into Olivet, one of the two antique cars of the little funicular.  It was only fitting that this Los Angeles treasure, artist & author Leo Politi, be the first to make the short journey to the top of Bunker Hill since he had so immortalized that hill in his books and artwork. Following his historic ride, hundreds of fans patiently waited in line as Leo Politi signed autographs.  Politi would give each fan the time and respect he or she so deserved. Sadly for Los Angeles, Mr. Politi's own time would soon run out.  Within weeks of the reopening of the railway, he passed away.  In November, 2008, Leo Politi would have been 100 years old.  As Los Angeles and the rest of the world celebrate Politi's life long work during his Centennial Year, the Angels Flight Railway Foundation is planning an art installation immediately adjacent to Angels Flight of large, weather-resistant, ceramic reproductions of nine Politi's paintings of Bunker Hill. As passengers ascend and descend on the 107 year-old Angels Flight Railway, they will have a glimpse into the City's past through Politi's depictions of historic Bunker Hill.  The Foundation also is working on a complementary publication about Bunker Hill's history to be illustrated with Politi artwork. This Angels Flight project is one of many Southern California tributes to the life and work of Leo Politi.


The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is to inspire, especially in children and their families, an appreciation for and an understanding of the art of the picture book. This most important and unique Museum, located in Amherst, Massachusetts has long admired Leo Politi's work and his importance to children's book art. The Eric Carle Museum has expressed a desire to honor Leo Politi for his vast contributions to the field of children's book art. The Leo Politi Family supports the mission of the Eric Carle Museum and is pleased to be partnering with the Carle Museum in future events.


Leo Politi's love affair with Mission San Juan Capistrano dates back to the 1940's. Future San Juan Capistrano exhibits  will feature "original illustrations" from Leo Politi's  Caldecott Medal Award winning book "Song of the Swallows" that was centered at the Mission. In addition to the Caldecott Medal, the prestigious Regina Medal awarded to Leo Politi in 1966 by the Catholic Library Association will also be exhibited.  The Regina Medal is awarded annually to a living exemplar of the words  of the English poet Walter de la Mare, "only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young," for continued  distinguished contribution to children's literature without  regard to the nature of the contribution.


In the early 1970's The Lummis Home held an exhibit of Leo Politi's art.  At the opening, Leo Politi said "This is one of the happiest moments in my life, to see my paintings hanging in such an aesthetic and harmonious setting.  The Lummis House is California at its best."  The Lummis Home will once again adorn Leo Politi's art.  An exhibit is now being planned that will feature Leo Politi's Native American artwork,  most of which has never before been seen in public. The Historical Society of Southern California will host this very special exhibit. Dates and times to be announced.

Liz Reyes and her late brother, Los Angeles artist Teddy Sandoval, shared a love for Leo Politi’s work. Liz owns many Politi books and displays his treasured art in her home. In 1985, Liz ran into Leo Politi at Historical Angeleno Heights and Leo gave her permission to photograph him. In 2008, Liz had attended many Politi centennial events and has shared Leo’s photographs with his family, various libraries and schools. Liz plans to attend the Lummis Home exhibit, near the Museum Square Gold Line Train Station in Highland Park. The train station features her Late brother, Teddy Sandoval’s "Guardian” artwork. Liz Reyes will be bringing her family friends and art lovers to see, enjoy and experience the angelic spirit of her two favorite artists.

If you share Leo Politi's love for parks, then you're invited to join the Friends of the Parks and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, to celebrate the Leo Politi Centennial. The celebration will take place at the park that bares his name.  Politi, a park advocate, wrote and illustrated "Tales of the Los Angeles Parks" and many award winning children's books. Bring your kids, there will be piñatas, Chinese kite flying, painting and many more activities for the young. So if you love parks and have a child's heart plan on  attending  this future event at Montecillo  De Leo Politi Park. (click here)


Cardinal Timothy Manning once said "the artistic genius of Leo Politi is his gift of being able to penetrate the heart of a child and to reproduce in his works the innocence and loveliness of those who reflect the Kingdom of God."  The San Fernando Mission is planning to present for the first time ever Cardinal Manning's personal collection of Leo Politi's Books with personal artwork

Artist and Muralist Julio Sanchez was commissioned to paint three murals at Leo Politi Elementary School in Los Angeles. Sanchez chose to salute Politi and his children books, by painting in Politi's early style.   Julio Sanchez will paint a  portrait of Leo Politi as his special tribute to the artist to  be displayed at the school that bares his name.  It will also be included in a future Politi exhibit being planned by some of Los Angeles' best Angelino Artists.  Each artist will pay tribute to Politi's life and influence through their art.  The exhibit is being organized by Los Angeles Photographer Jose Luis Sedano.


The soon to be re-opened Angels Flight "The shortest railroad in the world" will join in the celebration of The Leo Politi 2008 Centennial.  Leo Politi cut the ribbon and took the first official ride for the re-opening of Angels Flight and prior to his passing. Mr. Politi painted many wonderful paintings of Angels Flight including some in his book "Bunker Hill Los Angeles ".. reminiscences of by gone days.

Angel City Press is proud to announce the publishing of "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles". This full-color monograph examines the life and work of Leo Politi, the beloved artist and author, whose paintings, illustrations and sculptures vividly articulate the  multiethnic identity of Los Angeles.  Trained as a fine artist in Italy, Politi worked as a street artist on L.A.'s famed Olvera Street and achieved national attention with his twenty children's books and a coveted Caldecott Medal. Remembered for capturing the heart of Los Angeles, both on paper and in the minds of its people.     ISBN-13 978-1-883318-76-5 /$45.00

 Rob Wagner, journalist and author of nearly two dozen books along with screenwriter Larry Bischof, Suzanne Politi Bischof and Paul Politi have written a coffee table biography book on Los Angeles artist, Leo Politi entitled "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles."  Though he is celebrated as an author and illustrator, Politi's lesser known but equally important work can be found in his early art, sculptures and murals.  Readers will be treated to nearly 300 images of his work.  The book will include his fine art, completed long before his fame as a children's illustrator. Featured images will include paintings on Bunker Hill, Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, and his many other picturesque hangouts.  A majority of the paintings will be unpublished, never before seen art, mostly from private collections, as well as some rare clip art.  If you study close some of the 20th Century's social, idealistic, and cultural advances made in Los Angeles, you will find the fingerprints of this humble, un-assuming man with a gentle heart.  Leo Politi is considered an indigenous part of the California Landscape.  

The Leo Politi family is assisting Angel City Press and author Rob Wagner with the selection of paintings and carvings to be featured in the Leo Politi Coffee Table Art Book entitled "Leo Politi, Capturing the Heart of Los Angeles".  Angel City Press will publish the book that will reveal many facets of Leo Politi's career, a major focus will be on his early fine arts period.  To achieve the finest representation of Leo Politi's work, the family is requesting collectors to email jpg photos of any painting or carving that they would want to be considered for inclusion in this very important art book.  Jpeg photos should be emailed to:

The Friends of Edendale Branch Library are planning a Leo Politi art exhibit.  The Edendale Branch Library features a large poigant Ernesto De La Loza mural that shows many of Echo Parks local treasures. Included in the De La Loza mural is the image of  Echo Park’s long time resident, Leo Politi. Just a few blocks east of  the Edendale Branch  Library on Sunset Blvd. and Echo Park Avenue is “Leo Politi Square”.


Located in the historic Garnier Building (1890), the last surviving structure from the Los Angeles original Chinatown, the Chinese American Museum (CAM) opened in 2003 with the goal of cultivating public awareness, understanding and appreciation for the more than 150 years of Chinese American history in the United States. To celebrate Leo Politi's Centenary the Chinese American Museum is planning a Leo Politi exhibit featuring his Chinatown paintings, books and sketches. The exhibit will take place  in conjunction with the Lantern Festival. Exact dates and times to be announced


Elisabeth Waldo's multi cultural music and dance celebrates the diversity that inspired Leo Politi's art with an enchanted evening under the stars. View Elisabeth's collection of  Leo Politi art and enjoy the music, costume and dance of many cultures. Experience the romance of old California, beautiful music and Leo Politi art as Elisabeth Waldo's Historical Rancho celebrates the Leo Politi Centennial. Experience the romance of old California, beautiful music and Leo Politi 's art as Elisabeth Waldo's Historical Rancho celebrates the work of Leo Politi.

Leo Politi has continually supported “Feria De Los Ninos” the concept of using cultural arts to instill self- esteem, confidence, cultural pride and family respect through creative expression, discipline, training and achievement. Leo Politi’s support and poster artwork has been a part of the “Feria De Los Ninos” tradition.  The Politi Family will join Los Angeles Department of Recreations and Parks by sharing their father's “Feria De Los Ninos” art work that celebrate the rich and diverse culture of latino speaking people.

The Italian Hall was planning   an exhibit on Leo Politi and his art as the concluding part of the Leo Politi Centennial.  It was fitting that the centennial that started at the historical landmark Pico House would conclude at the historical landmark Italian Hall that Leo Politi loved so much.  At present the Italian Hall is going through restructure preservation work.  Once the  preservation work is competed the  Leo Politi exhibit will finally take place at the Italian Hall. (click here)

The alumni of Our Lady of Loretto Elementary School have a most interesting, and nostalgic website. They not only celebrate their school, church and community, but also the history of the neighborhood in and around Echo Park, and the City of Los Angeles. For years they have included Leo Politi and a huge example of his art on this wonderful website and soon they will add a tribute to Leo Politi and the centenary of his birth.



If you or your organization will be celebrating THE LEO POLITI 2008 CENTENNIAL and would like to have it listed on the website.  Please let us know by emailing us at



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This site was last updated 07/15/10