June 16, 2022 at 6:30pm

Bob Staake, “A Palette of Pixels”

In-person and via Zoom

FREE for members, $15 for non-members

A Palette of Pixels

From pen to brush, from pencil to paint, from crayon and even to scissors, Illustrator Bob Staake never met a drawing implement he didn’t like, but for 3 decades his go-to illustration tool has been the computer.

In a recent online interview, Drawn.ca suggested that “to say Bob Staake is just an illustrator is like saying ‘The Beatles’ were just a bunch of musicians; the title doesn’t do the artist justice.”

One of the nation’s most prolific illustrators, he has authored and/or illustrated over 75 books, including The Donut Chef, Bluebird, Bugs Galore, Hello Robots, Look A Book, This Is Not A Pumpkin, Pets Go Pop, and others. The New York Times named his book The Red Lemon one of the 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2006.



August 18, 2022 at 6:30pm

Cathryn Mercier, PhD

In-person and via Zoom

FREE for members, $15 for non-members

Children’s Literature scholar, Cathryn Mercier, PhD, of Simmons University, will discuss how the picture book and the role of illustration has changed over the past one hundred years.

As an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College (BA ’81) Cathie Mercier was drawn to the scientific emphasis and empiricism of experimental psychology. A psychology major, she did not take her first course in children’s literature until her senior year. “Like Alice, I fell down the rabbit hole and I’ve yet to come up,” said Mercier.

Cathie was appointed to Simmons in 1985 and has been teaching in the graduate degree program in children’s literature ever since. She teaches criticism, contemporary young adult realism, the child in fiction, the picturebook, and a survey course. Her thesis, independent study, and internship advising embrace a wide range of topics, from a cultural analysis of Printz titles to an annotated bibliography of historical fiction for curricular use. “As advisor of a thesis that asked, ‘What can queer theory tell children’s literature?’ I met regularly with the student to discuss ideas. We both learned from the books, and I hope she learned from me. But I consider it my best teaching experience because of how very much I learned from her,” said Mercier, who was thrilled when part of her student’s thesis was included in a book of new voices in children’s literary criticism.

In addition to teaching, Cathie has contributed to the journal Children’s Literature and to The Horn Book Magazine. Her skill at “close reading, an ability to talk about books so that others see the book at its most ambitious and complex, and a talent for collaboration” has made her a valuable member of national book award committee.  She currently serves on the Subaru Prize Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences/Young Adult Division, and has served on multiple children’s literature award committees.