10 From 26: The ABC Family Reading Program

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One of the prized pieces of the Zerzanek Collection is this original illustration by Maurice Sendak.

The cold weather means a lot more time for indoor activities! The Library wants to help you read and play together with “10 From 26: The ABC Family Reading Program.” This inter-generational reading program is designed to get you and your little one’s reading together!

Visit the Library and check out a bag of 10 family-friendly books, read them together, and receive a prize! Each book was hand selected to fit 10 of the 26 letters of the alphabet.

This reading program is being done in conjunction with the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art’s newest exhibit: “The ABCs of Children’s Book Illustrations” highlighting the Zerzanek Collection of the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

The program and exhibit run through May 17. For more information on Evelyn Zerzanek and the amazing collection of illustrations, click here.

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

Unbeknownst to many in the Cedar Rapids community, the
Cedar Rapids Public Library possesses an extraordinary collection
of original children’s book illustration. Starting in the 1950s, an
exceptional children’s librarian, Evelyn Zerzanek, asked children’s
book authors and illustrators to donate a work for the children
of Cedar Rapids. Over the course of fifteen years, the collection
grew to more than 1,400 pieces, representing various scenes and
characters from childhood classics. The Cedar Rapids Museum
of Art, which has housed the collection since 2008, is partnering
with the Library to present a major exhibition of this little-known
collection to a much broader audience.

The ABCs of Children’s Book Illustration presents several works
from the Zerzanek Collection of Original Art from Children’s
Literature. The exhibition is organized not by artist or date of
production but rather in the form of an ABC book, spread out on
the wall. While most of the illustrations are from published books,
others were drawn specifically for the Library and have never been
published. Still others were made for well-known books but for
one reason or another were not included in the final version. Also
in the exhibition are some pieces of correspondence that include
original drawings, for example a letter from H. A. Rey with an image
of Curious George, and another from Dr. Seuss with an original
drawing of his dog Owlser. On display are also a few retirement
wishes Miss Zerzanek received from various authors and illustrators,
again including original artwork. In all cases, these works exemplify
a golden age of children’s literature and illustration and are truly a
treasure of this community.

This exhibition is made possible by Rockwell Collins, the Program
Grant Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation,
members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and contributors to
the Museum’s Annual Fund.

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