“I’m trying to use my art
to teach a little — making children
a little more appreciative
of the flowers they can see,
or helping to open up their eyes
to the beautiful birds
— Lois Ehlert
I learned today that Lois Ehlert has passed away. Born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, on November 9, 1934, Lois went on to do great things as an author and illustrator of children’s books.
I had the privilege of interviewing Lois for a book almost 30 years ago. The interview was updated at a later point, around 2000, for the cleverly titled, The Big Book of Picture-Book Authors & Illustrators. I used to spy that book on the shelves in classrooms during school visits, though I suspect that’s hardly true anymore. Are teachers as interested in children’s books as they used to be? I’m not so sure.
Anyway, here’s the two-page spread on Lois as it appeared in that collection of profiles. The writing is directed at dual audiences: educators as well as interested young readers.
As a writer, it’s often a little scary to go back and look at old writing. Will it be embarrassingly bad? But in this case, I felt none of that. I was simply heartened to remember Lois Ehlert again, to bring those great books back to mind, and appreciate the fine work she did.
May her wonderful books, full of color and beauty and respect for the natural world, live on.
(Sorry for the crummy photos; it’s how I roll.)