Archive for December 26th, 2013

by Sam Juliano

I first encountered the remarkable Dr. Katherine Smith at the then Jersey City State College in the fall semester of 1977 in a class titled basically enough: “Children’s Literature.”  Smith was an old-fashioned type, born and raised in the mid-west, a perfectionist, whose aptitude for being thorough was only equaled by her passion for her favorite subject and personal hobby: children’s books.  She adored the masters: McCloskey, Burton, Cooney, Lionni, Lawson, White, Grahame, L’Engle, Wilder and the d’Aulaires and glowingly discussed their art and examined their work with the intricacy and diligence of a fine tooth comb.  I never forgot how vital she regarded the matter of “paper” used in the making of the books.  At the time I though she was a bit off her rocker in that regard, but I have now come to appreciate the sensory, often intoxicating quality of a good picture book made with the right texture and design.  It is, I have learned the difference between when may be a great read and a book of permanence, one that will forever be cherished and re-visited because the paper has successfully collaborated on the reading of a book.


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