Creating and celebrating a child’s world


Illustration by Barbara Knutson from “Love and Roast Chicken”

The University of Minnesota is celebrating 60th anniversary of it’s collection of children’s books with an exhibition. The Kerlan Collection contains more than 100,000 children’s books as well as original manuscripts and artwork for an additional 12,000 children’s books.


Gustaf Tenggren illustration for “Saggy Baggy Elephant”

The Kerlan Collection was established in the 1940’s by University of Minnesota alumnus Dr. Irvin Kerlan (1912-1963). Dr. Kerlan was a researcher for the U.S. FDA who collected rare books as a hobby. Soon his interest focused on children’s books.

Dr. Kerlan organized exhibitions and shipped them to libraries and art galleries in North America, Europe, and the Far East. In 1949, he made arrangements with the University of Minnesota, his Alma Mater, to provide a permanent home for his collection. Since then, the University of Minnesota libraries have supervised the collection’s development.


Tomie dePaola’s illustration for “Shhh! We’re Writing the Constitution!”

The University is marking the exhibition’s opening with a talk Sunday afternoon by Children’s literature critic Leonard S. Marcus. The talk is free and open to the public.

Frog%20Prince.jpgFeatured in the exhibit will be materials from notable children’s and young adult literature authors and illustrators, including “Goodnight Moon” illustrator Clement Hurd; National Book Award finalist Walter Dean Myers; Newbery Medal winners Kate DiCamillo, Katherine Paterson, and Lois Lowry; and Caldecott Medal winners Stephen Gammell and Chris Van Allsburg.

The exhibit will be open to the public through Thursday, Dec. 31; exhibit hours and directions to Andersen Library can be found here.

Wanda Gag’s illustration for “Frog Prince”

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