The Osborne Collection
Last week I said I’d say more on the subject of scrapbooks. I started keeping one in 1982 after my first book, Red is Best, was published. I put my rejection letters in it, the letter Annick sent saying they’d like to meet with me, the earliest Robin Baird Lewis sketches I saw that convinced Annick and me that she was the right illustrator for the book, and the notes I made for my acceptance of the IODE Award (on the same day the first edition of Big or Little? was released).
I didn’t keep the scrapbook up for very long, but those items now reside with the Osborne Collection at the Lillian Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library.
The Osborne Collection is a treasure trove of early children’s books. It contains numerous drafts of more recent children’s books, too. I was delighted to hear this spring that when the speakers at the conference I attended were treated to a tour of the collection, the good folks at the Osborne made a point of showcasing their Red is Best materials. (And I heard that one of my great writing heroes, David Almond, was quite impressed. David Almond is also this year’s winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award.)
The neat thing is: anyone can visit the Osborne Collection. Drop in from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They rotate their displays regularly, so if there’s something specific you’re hoping to see, it might be wise to make an appointment beforehand.
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.