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.