Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Richard Jesse Watson on the Power of Illustrators To Portray Diversity of Gender

One of the best things about my position in the world of Children's Literature is getting to talk about how sexuality and gender get expressed in children's books. At the recent KidLitCon 2011, I had a chance to talk with the amazing author/illustrator Richard Jesse Watson, and he told me about how he approached the gender of an angel in his illustrations for "The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake," written by Nancy Willard.

Richard's gender-neutral portrayal of the angel definitely puts this picture book in my 'Picture Books I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid" list of favorites - and I found his take on how an illustrator can portray diversity - including diversity of gender - really empowering.

I hope you find the story behind the story - and the power all illustrators have - to be inspirational as well!


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