Georgiou Library Receives Collection of Picture Book Biographies from Leonard Marcus, Children’s Literature Historian

Leonard Marcus, an author and children’s literature scholar, has donated a collection of picture book biographies to the Constantine Georgiou Library and Resource Center for Children and Literature at NYU Steinhardt.

The 3,500-volume library is devoted to research, scholarship, and community activities associated with children’s literature and literacy.

“Picture book biographies create a unique and engaging learning opportunity for young readers. We welcome these additions to the Georgiou Library and are grateful for Leonard Marcus’ support and common interest in fostering early childhood literacy,” said Susan Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at NYU Steinhardt.

The donation of 140 picture book biographies will be used as a reference collection for faculty and students. The library is will be developing scholarly and community programming around children’s book biographies.

“We’re thrilled to receive this gift from Mr. Marcus, which adds exciting depth to the Georgiou Library’s nonfiction holdings,” said Kendra Tyson, the Linda May Uris Library Media Specialist at the Georgiou Library. “The genre has the power to illuminate a person or a time period, as well as sociopolitical and artistic movements, while offering an entry point into research for students at all levels of inquiry.”

Among the biographies are Action Jackson, written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker, which tells the story of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, and Robbin Gourley’s Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie, which focuses on celebrated chef Edna Lewis – the original farm-to-table champion – through lyrical narrative text and watercolor illustrations.

“The picture book biography is among the most dynamic genres in contemporary children’s book publishing—a reflection perhaps of an urgently felt need for role models and heroes in a complex world. I’m thrilled by NYU’s interest in these books and look forward to the programming and studies they promise to inspire,” said Leonard Marcus.

Marcus, an authority on illustrated children’s books, and has authored more than 20 books. He is a founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., and curated the New York Public Library’s 2013-2014 exhibition on children’s books, “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.” He teaches at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Child Study Center and the School of Visual Arts.

In addition to housing the new collection of picture book biographies, the Georgiou Library contains several other categories of children’s literature, including early concept books, fairy tales, poetry, and Caldecott Medal winners and honor books. The library is open to NYU faculty and students, families from the community, and researchers from around the globe, and provides public outreach to the community.

The Georgiou Library, established in 2002 under a gift from the E.H.A. Foundation, is named after Constantine Georgiou (1927-2009), a Steinhardt professor for more than 50 years as well as a children’s book editor and author. A specialist in Mother Goose books, Georgiou was recognized as a foremost expert in the field of children’s literature.