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de Grummond
Children's Literature Collection
 
 

INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS GROWING

The first book festival held by the de Grummond Collection in 1968 was an international display of children's books from throughout the world. Embassies were contacted and asked to provide a sampling of the children's literature popular in their countries. This request resulted in the contribution of hundreds of story and picture books from France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, and China. Over the years, we have added translations of books first written in English by de Grummond contributors Ezra Jack Keats, H.A. and Margret Rey, Betty Cavanna, Beverly Cleary, and Margaret Hyde.

This growing collection has recently been augmented by contributions from authors and illustrators in Cyprus, Israel, Ireland, and Australia. The Internet provided us with an introduction to Greek Cypriot author Filisa Hadjihanna. Hadjihanna , a well-known author of children's books, is a graduate of the University of Ionnina in Greece and currently works as an elementary school teacher. Her books have received many prizes, and her plays have been staged by the National Theatre of Cyprus. The plays have also been broadcast by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and Greek television networks. Among the 14 titles donated to the de Grummond Collection are (English translations of titles) Short Stories of Katerina, Joys and Sorrows, Flowers and Dreams, The Laughing Moustache, The Blue Violin, and three stories about the adventures of Little Walnut and the Sugary.

While making a presentation on the international aspects of the de Grummond Collection at the First International Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Children's Literature Conference in France, Dee Jones met a number of authors and illustrators from throughout the world. Husband and wife Marion and Steve Isham are an author-illustrator team from Tasmania, Australia. The Ishams write and illustrate as one artist. They pass their text and pictures back and forth as the work progresses. Their brilliantly colored books are full of surprises and most often reflect their Tasmanian culture. Bo Bandicoot at the Market is a delightful alphabet book featuring the endangered bandicoot, an Australian marsupial. Their Tasmanian Tiger is a story of this extinct animal. The illustrations reveal clues to the location of a real buried treasure - an 18-karat gold tiger hidden somewhere in Tasmania. The Ishams have illustrated four other books, all of which are now in the holdings of the de Grummond Collection.

While in France, Jones also met Pnina Kass, an Israeli author of children's literature. Kass writes in both Hebrew and English, and, in addition to her full- length books, also writes short stories, radio dramatizations, and a television series for middle graders for the English/Israel Educational Television network. The books that Kass sent to the de Grummond Collection are in Hebrew and use a popular Israeli children's rhyme as the theme. The three stories feature Berele, a snail who will not come out of his shell until he is promised that Mom and Dad will give him a piece of cake. His adventures include a trip to the beach, his birthday party, baby-sitting by Grandma, refusing to take his medicine while sick, and the arrival of his baby sister.

While making a presentation in Dublin, Ireland, on Irish women authors and illustrators of children's literature, Jones met several Irish authors. One was Geraldine V. Whelan, who writes under the pseudonym "Orla Melling." An award-winning author of six books, Melling was born in Ireland but, at five, moved to Canada. She has traveled throughout the world, spending time in Borneo, India, and Denmark before returning to her native County Wicklow. Her first novel was The Druid's Tune, a fantasy adventure set in Ireland's Iron Age. Her books reflect her fascination with history, fantasy, and Irish legend. The Hunter's Moon won the Ruth Schwartz Children's Literature Award (Canada) in 1994. Melling's books have been translated into Japanese and Czech.

It is sometimes necessary to travel great distances to obtain information that is available in your own backyard. It was not until Jones traveled to France that she met two fellow SCBWI members from the United States, author Lynnette Velasco and author/illustrator Anne Catharine Blake. Both have since become contributors to the de Grummond Collection. Velasco has donated typescripts, correspondence, and promotional materials for Zinzi: A Child's Journey to Self-Fulfillment, Giving and Caring (Worldwide Publications, 1997). Sheep Care is a fun-loving board book written and illustrated by Anne Catharine Blake, for which she has contributed the book dummy, correspondence, and promotional materials.

We are appreciative of the generosity of these creators of books for the world's children. We encourage other authors and illustrators to donate their manuscripts, illustrations, correspondence, and other production materials, as well as the published books, which will be preserved in an archival environment. By placing these books and original materials in the de Grummond Collection, contributors ensure that these treasures will be accessible to researchers, students, educators, and others interested in children's literature, for generations to come.

 

Contact:
The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
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