The Northern Illinois University Art Museum is pleased to present three virtual lectures related to their Children’s Illustrated Literature Suite by internationally acclaimed historian on children’s books, Leonard S. Marcus. Marcus served as a co-curator for the exhibition  “Golden Legacy: Original Art from 80 Years of Golden Books,” organized and traveled by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, and on display at the museum Aug. 23 through Oct. 15, 2022.

Leonard’s pathfinding writings and exhibitions have earned him acclaim as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on children’s books and the people who create them. He is the author of more than 25 award-winning biographies, histories, interview collections and inside looks at the making of children’s literature’s enduring classics. His reviews and commentary have been featured in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, The Horn Book, and on numerous radio and television programs including Good Morning America, All Things Considered, PBS NewsHour, BBC Radio 4, CBC As It Happens, Beijing Television and Radio New Zealand, among others.

A founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Leonard curated the New York Public Library’s landmark exhibition “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” as well as a long roster of touring exhibitions highlighting the art of Golden Books, Alice and Martin Provensen, Leonard Weisgard, Bernard Waber, Jules Feiffer, Garth Williams and others. He has served as a consultant to the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, National Book Foundation, Bank Street College of Education, American Writers Museum, Bard Graduate Center, National Book Council (Singapore), Lamsa Media (UAE) and Trust Bridge Media (China). In 2007, the Bank Street College of Education awarded Leonard an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. In 2019, Leonard became the first American to win the Shanghai-based Chen Bochui Foundation International Children’s Literature Award for “special contributions to the development of Chinese children’s literature.”

His literary archive is now in the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Leonard teaches at New York University and the School of Visual Arts, and speaks to audiences throughout the US and around the world. Born in Mount Vernon, New York and educated at Yale and the Iowa Graduate Writers’ Workshop, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Calendar of Events

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 – Virtual Event
Golden Legacy: The Story of the Golden Books
Golden Books revolutionized 20th century publishing by creating high-quality children’s books that nearly every American family could afford. In this richly illustrated presentation, renowned historian Leonard S. Marcus tells the story of the upstart visionaries who brought together top-flight authors and artists, state-of-the-art printing technology and savvy marketing to make Golden Books one of America’s most trusted and treasured brands.
5 to 6 p.m. CT
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Thursday, Sept. 15 – Virtual Event
Strong Women, Great Books: The Women Who Invented American Children’s Book Publishing
One hundred years ago, American publishers launched the world’s first editorial departments dedicated to books for young readers – and hired women in nearly all the key roles. In this illustrated talk, Leonard tells the little-known story of these tenacious behind-the-scenes pioneers who seized the day by providing the editorial vision for such classics as “Make Way for Ducklings,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and “The Snowy Day” while also carving out an essential place for themselves in a historically male-dominated profession.
5 to 6 p.m. CT
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Sunday, Sept. 18 – Virtual Event
Around the World in 80 Picture Books
From New York to Beijing to Bratislava to Mexico City, the illustrated children’s book has become a vibrant global enterprise. In this illustrated talk, Leonard leads a wide-ranging pictorial tour of the landmark books for young people that have defined the children’s picture book for over two centuries and of the cultural trends and new technologies that have fueled the explosive growth of this deceptively simple art form.
2 to 3 p.m. CT
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COVID-19 Visitor Information
For more information about the university’s health protocols and guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

About the NIU Art Museum
Serving Campus and Community by Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art to Explore the Connections Made through Visual Culture. Part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ vibrant and active arts community on campus, the Northern Illinois University Art Museum is a resource for the NIU campus, local community and beyond.

The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, at the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drive on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

Parking is available in the visitor pay lot located at 200 Carroll Avenue. Limited metered and accessible parking spaces are available in front of Lowden Hall with accessible aisles and route to Altgeld. Campus parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. weeknights in nearby lots 3 and 14.

To request disability-related accommodations for museum programs, please contact the museum at least one week in advance. Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

The Children’s Illustrated Literature Suite was made possible by the Barbara Cole Peters Fund for the NIU Art Museum. The exhibitions and programs of the NIU Art Museum are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum, the NIU Arts and Culture Fee; and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Season Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media. Additional funding for the programs related to our fall 2022 shows came from the Barbara Cole Peters Fund for the NIU Art Museum; Friends of the University Libraries; Friends of the DeKalb and Sycamore Public Libraries; the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic; NIU Center for Black Studies; NIU Gender and Sexuality Resource Center; NIU College of Education; NIU Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; the illustration department of the NIU School of Art and Design; and the College of Visual and Performing Arts DEI Initiatives.

Gallery Hours
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday
Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday
Noon to 6 p.m. Friday
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday; and by appointment for group tours