Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card! —From Arthur the animated series.
When I was really small my mom took us to the library quite often.
I loved it, and it stuck.
She used to say we couldn’t get our own library cards until we were able to drive ourselves to the library. (She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to keep track of all the books we would check out.) But I wore her down and she let me get my own library card when I was in Junior High. I used to ride my bike to the library where I had one favorite section of books. I checked out as many books as I could from it, and took them home to pour over them some more.
“Which section,” you ask.
“It was the J-398s of course.”
“Of course!” You reply. I love the J-398s.
“Don’t we all,” I say as we both sigh a happy sigh.
Wait! what?…you don’t know what the j-398s are? That makes sense actually. So sorry, I got distracted there for a second.
The 398s are the part of the library where folklore and fairy tale stories live. And the “J” stands for “juvenile”.
So, to recap, I used to go poor over the fairy and folk tale picture books.
This is where I discovered P.J. Lynch, Trina Hyman, Kinokyo Y. Craft, Ruth Sanderson, and so many other amazing picture book artists. It’s also where I hatched my dreams to create art that told stories.
At first, these dreams looked like me making beautiful fairy tale books like these illustrators made, but it’s expanded into telling all kinds of stories with my art. I draw things that inspire me, some of which are inspired by those illustrators, and I tell stories.
Sometimes it’s hard to love what you love.
There are times when I feel silly loving fairytales as an adult, not because it’s silly to love fairy tales, but because other adults, even artists and creatives don’t get it. (Other people think it’s silly.)
Once, on a date, when my gentleman caller asked what my favorite movie was I said, “oh, um there are so many good ones. I really like a lot of Pixar movies.”
He laughed because he thought it was a joke.
I didn’t go on a second date with him. (I’m actually not quite sure how I ended up on a first date with him.) For the record, I married someone who likes Pixar movies and also has most of the Lord of the Rings memorized.
I’m not here to convince you to love fairy tales, or even help you understand why I love fairy tales. It’s here to give you permission to love what you love.
You love certain things for certain reasons and that’s important. When you express that love by creating art, stories, or anything you might find people who understand, and your creation might help them out.