Elleman, Barbara 1934-
ELLEMAN, Barbara 1934-
PERSONAL: Born October 20, 1934, in Coloma, WI; daughter of Donald and Evelyn (Kissinger) Koplein; married Don W. Elleman, November 14, 1970. Education: Wisconsin State University, B.S., 1956; University of Denver, M.A., 1964.
ADDRESSES: Home—1884 Somerset Ln., Northbrook, IL 60062.
CAREER: Educator, consultant, editor, and author. Library media specialist at Port Washington High School, Port Washington, WI, 1956-59, Homestead High School, Thiensville-Mequon, WI, 1959-64, Cherry Creek Schools, Denver, CO, 1965-70, and Henry Clay School, Whitefish Bay, WI, 1971-75; Denver Public Library, Denver, CO, children's librarian, 1964-65; American Library Association, Chicago, IL, Booklist children's book reviewer, 1975-82, Booklist children's book editor, 1982-90, Book Links creator and editor-in-chief, 1990-96; Marquette University School of Education, Milwaukee, WI, Distinguished Scholar of Children's Literature, 1996-2002. United States Board on Books for Young People, U.S. associate editor of Bookbird, 1978-86; Learning, book review editor, 1979-85. Visiting lecturer at universities, including University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, 1974-74, 1981-82, University of Illinois, 1983-85, and Marquette University, 1989-95. Consultant to publishers; member of board, American Association of School Librarians, 1973-75; member of advisory board, Library of Congress Committee on Selection of Children's Books for the Blind, 1980-88, Indiana R.E.A.P., 1987-93, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Children's Book Center, 1997-2000, Parent's Guide to Children's Media, Inc., 1998—, and Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 2002—; chair of U.S. Hans Christian Andersen Committee, 1987-88; advisor to Public Broadcasting System television programs, including Reading Rainbow, 1986-96, Family Times, 1994-95, and ZooQ, 1995-96. Member, Marquette University Women's Council and President's Council; member of jury for American Book Awards, 1982, Golden Kite Award, 1987, Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, 1990, and Premi VI Internacional Catalonia d'Illustracio (Barcelona, Spain).
MEMBER: International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, American Library Association, U.S. Board on Books for Young People (chair of nominating committee, 1985; member of board, 1990-92), Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Children's Reading Round Table of Chicago, American Association of University Women, Beatrix Potter Society, Friends of the Haggerty Art Museum of Marquette University.
AWARDS, HONORS: Children's Reading Round Table of Chicago Award, 1987; Jeremiah Ludington Award, Educational Paperback Association, 1996; Hope S. Dean Award, Foundation for Children's Literature, 1996.
(Editor) Children's Books of International Interest, 3rd edition, American Library Association (Chicago, IL), 1984.
Tomie dePaola: His Art and His Stories, Putnam (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Russell Freedman) Holiday House, the FirstSixty-five Years, revised edition, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2000.
Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2002.
Author of American Library Association pamphlets, including Popular Reading for Children: A Collection of the "Booklist" Columns, 2 volumes, 1981, 1986, and Books Change Lives: Quotes to Treasure. Contributor to books, including Reading in a Media Age, Scarecrow Press (Metuchen, NJ), 1975; What Else Can You Do with a Library Degree?, Neal-Schuman (New York, NY), 1980; The Artist, the Book, and the Child (exhibition catalogue), Lockport Museum, 1989; St. James Guide to Children's Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1989; World Book; and Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995. Contributor of reviews to periodicals, including CRRT Bulletin, Language Arts, Gifted Children Monthly, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Monthly; contributor of articles to American Libraries, Library Trends, New Advocate, TALL, Journal of Children's Literature, and Writer. Member of editorial advisory board to CLA Bulletin, 1989-91.
SIDELIGHTS: A noted authority in the field of children's literature, Barbara Elleman has served on advisory committees, award juries, and editorial boards, in addition to working as a librarian and editor of Booklist magazine for many years. Her expertise in the field and her familiarity with some of the best in children's literature has led Elleman to author several books of her own, among them Tomie dePaola: His Art and His Stories and Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art.
In Tomie dePaola, Elleman presents a critical overview of the work of popular author/illustrator Tomie dePaola, whose 200-plus books—which include Strega Nona and Bonjour, Mr. Satie—have appeared in over a dozen countries. From a biographical overview of dePaola's life and career, Elleman moves on to discuss the various genres in which the author/illustrator has worked, including an appendix, bibliography, and numerous illustrations and photographs. Noting that the intended audience for this "well-crafted" and "scholarly" book is an adult readership, School Library Journal contributor Rosalyn Pierini nonetheless noted that "children will enjoy poring over the collected illustrations." Praising the book as "expansive" as well as "easy to read, insightful, and lavishly illustrated," Children's Literature Association Quarterly reviewer John Warren Stewig noted of Tomie dePaola that "Elleman's writing always exudes a cheerfulness that reflects the upbeat nature of the art being described." Praising the author for her continued support of children's literature, Stewig concluded that the volume "can enlighten children's book professionals, by helping them see the sophistication and stylistic mastery which is sometimes overlooked in this body of work because of its joyfulness and apparent simplicity."
The author of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, the 1932 Caldecott Medal winner The Little House, and many other beloved children's literature classics, Virginia Lee Burton was a multitalented artist as well as a textile designer, art teacher, homemaker and parent, sheep-rearer, and businesswoman who lived and worked in Massachusetts until her death in 1968. In her biography of Burton, Elleman takes a characteristically spirited approach to her subject, creating a book that effectively portrays Burton's "colorful, exuberant life," according to Booklist contributor Sharon E. Cohen. Cohen went on to describe Elleman's text as "warm and incisive," while in School Library Journal, Margaret A. Chang praised the book as a "welcome tribute" that reveals the life of a singular woman who tackled both her family responsibilities and a career "at a time when most women chose one over the other." While noting that the perhaps overly positive biography does not delve deeply into Burton's early life, a Kirkus Reviews critic nonetheless praised Virginia Lee Burton as "a valuable contribution to the literature of children's literature." In addition to her biography of Burton, Elleman also penned the introduction to the sixtieth-anniversary edition of Burton's most beloved books, 2002's Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury.
In addition to her books on noted authors and illustrators, Elleman has also been active in promoting children's literature through her work with the American Library Association (ALA), for which she created and edited the magazine Book Links beginning in 1990. Her editorship of the third edition of the ALA's Children's Books of International Interest in 1984 resulted in a work that Library Science Annual contributor Carol A. Doll dubbed "fairly balanced" in its creation of a bibliography of quality children's books that either illustrate themes of universality or encompass themes unique to American culture. More highly praised were the two volumes by Elleman that contained her early columns from Booklist magazine, which she edited beginning in the mid-1970s. Popular Reading for Children: A Collection of the "Booklist" Columns and its sequel include Elleman's standards for quality literature for young readers, as well as a list of currently available books in each of several genres. Ranking books by the quality of their prose rather than their readability, Elleman provides librarians, teachers, and parents with what a Journal of Academic Librarianship reviewer considered "a wealth of recommended materials appropriate for reading by children" during an era when censorship of such materials toward "political correctness" was beginning to be felt.
Devoting her career to improving the quality of children's literature and increasing the respect accorded to children's book authors and illustrators, Elleman in 2003 donated over seven hundred books from her own library to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Named for noted collage artist Carle, the museum is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is the first full-scale museum in the United States to devote itself exclusively to picture-book art. The Barbara Elleman Research Library will provide scholars with wide-ranging information regarding the history of illustrated books for children.
Elleman told CA: "Books have always had an important place in my life, and the power of story in text and image has continually intrigued me. In working as a school and public librarian, in teaching at the college level, in writing about children's literature as a reviewer, essayist, and editor of magazines about children's literature, and, on a personal level, in collecting rare and beautiful children's books, I have found professional and personal satisfaction. Recently, I have turned to writing as a way to more fully understand and appreciate the power of the image. Research into techniques, themes, motivations, and passions of illustrators such as Tomie dePaola and Virginia Lee Burton has led me to probe their lives and works to illuminate their artistic processes beyond lines and colors on the page."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Libraries, February, 1997, Leonard Kniffel, "Launching and Leaving 'Links'" (interview), pp. 64-68.
Booklist, October 1, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Tomie dePaola: His Art and His Stories, p. 369; December 1, 2002, Sharon E. Cohen, review of Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art, p. 695.
Children's Literature Association Quarterly, fall, 2001, John Warren Stewig, review of Tomie dePaola, p. 152.
Horn Book, November, 1999, review of Tomie dePaola, p. 761.
Journal of Academic Librarianship, September, 1981, review of Popular Reading for Children: A Collection of the "Booklist" Columns, p. 245.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2002, review of VirginiaLee Burton, p. 1467.
Language Arts, April, 1982, review of Popular Reading for Children, p. 391.
Library Science Annual, 1986, Carol A. Doll, review of Children's Books of International Interest, p. 120.
School Library Journal, December, 1999, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Tomie dePaola, p. 168: December, 2002, Margaret A. Chang, review of Virginia Lee Burton, p. 177.
Washington Post Book World, November 24, 2002, Elizabeth Ward, review of Virginia Lee Burton, p. 5.
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Web site,http://www.picturebookart.org/ (October 20, 2003).
Houghton Mifflin Web Site,http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (December 1, 2003), "Barbara Elleman."