Contacts: Larra Clark/Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007
Author-illustrator James Marshall wins 2007 Wilder Award
SEATTLE – Author-illustrator James Marshall has been awarded the 2007 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. Marshall was the author and illustrator of the “George and Martha” books, the “Fox” easy reader series, “The Cut-Ups” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” – a Caldecott honor winner in 1989. He also illustrated the “Miss Nelson” books and “The Stupids” series, written by Harry Allard. Marshall died in 1992.
“Marshall conveyed a world of emotion with the placement of a dot or the wrinkle of a line,” said Wilder Award Committee Chair Roger Sutton. “In both his drawings and impeccably succinct texts, he displayed a comic genius infused with wit and kindness.”
The Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award was announced January 22 at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA, and is named for its first recipient in 1954.
Born in San Antonio in 1942, Marshall was a self-taught artist. After an injury cut short his pursuit of a career in music playing the viola, he found his life’s work in children’s books. His first book was “Plink, Plink, Plink,” written by Byrd Baylor and published by Houghton in 1971.
Drawing from a career that spanned just over 20 years, dozens of Marshall’s books remain favorites with audiences ranging from young children to college students and adults. The enduring friendship of George and Martha, the wily grace of Fox, the irrepressible resilience of the Stanley Q. Stupid family and the benevolent dictatorship of Miss Nelson (aka Viola Swamp) are testimonies to human nature in all its complexity.
In an introduction to the collected “George and Martha” books, Maurice Sendak writes that “Marshall is the last of a long line of masters that began in the late 19th century with the preeminent English illustrator Randolph Caldecott; then continued in our century with Jean de Brunhoff in France and Edward Ardizzone in England; and then via Tomi Ungerer arrived full blast in America, where the laurel leaf settled finally, splendidly, on the judicious, humane, witty, and astonishingly clever head of James Marshall.”
In “George and Martha: One Fine Day,” George the hippo offers some wisdom that speaks as much of his creator as it does to Martha: “If you love what you do, you’ll be very good at it too.”
Members of the 2007 Wilder committee are: Chair Roger Sutton, The Horn Book, Boston; Ann Carlson, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park, Ill.; Yapha Mason, Brentwood School, Los Angeles; Bernadette Nowakowski, Chicago Public Library; and Tish Wilson, Dayton (Ohio) Metro Library.