Kids make sidewalk chalk pictures to honor author
Photo by Chuck Kirman
Kristen McEachron and her brother Garrett draw sidewalk
pictures at the Thousand Oaks Library.
Photo by Chuck Kirman
Joe shows illustrations from a story author and artist
Leo Politi based on her when she was a child.
dusty creations included flowers, smiling people and abstract scribbles, and
more than one child left with their clothes more colorful than when they
arrived. Politi, who died in 1996, wrote children's picture books that were
typically centered in Los Angeles and focused on small children celebrating
ethnic or family events, said Jeanette Berard, special collections librarian
who helped organize the Centennial Celebration. "My dad loved to paint and
loved children," said Paul Politi, the artist's son, who attended the day's
activities with his sister. "He liked to encourage children to be creative."
the day started out with the children creating their chalk art. Then
Politi's biographer, Ann Stalcup, talked about the man who was born in
Fresno and started his literary career in 1938 with the publication of
"Little Pancho." In 1950, he received the Caldecott Medal for his picture
book "Song of the Swallows."
Stalcup, whose book is titled "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels," said she
was inspired to write about him while teaching in an inner city school.
librarian used his books every day. He was really the first person to write
about minority children," Stalcup said.
of Politi's books, which span several decades dating back to the 1940s, are
out of print, but the Thousand Oaks libraries have several in special
want children to get out and check out his books. They look old so kids
ignore them and don't realize what a treasure they are," Stalcup said.
Yan Joe, who was 4 years old when Politi watched her and her brothers
playing in Los Angeles' Chinatown in the 1960s, inspired his book about a
young, Chinese-American girl called Moy Moy.
Joe read from the book to a small crowd of children and shared part of her
collection of Politi's original artwork.
remember he would come to Chinatown and I would run into a store because I
was afraid of his little dog," Yan Joe said. "But there was a vending
machine that had peanuts, and he let me feed them to his dog, and that was
how he got the idea for Moy Moy."
exhibit of Politi's paintings will be on display in the Carnegie Art Museum,
424 S C Street, Oxnard, from December through February 2009.