Leonard S. Marcus
Children's Book Historian, Author, Critic
 
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L eonard is a rare bird: a renowned historian and critic and one of the children's book world's liveliest writers and speakers.

His highly acclaimed books about children's literature and the authors and artists who create them include: Show Me a Story!; The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth; Funny Business; Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way; Minders of Make-Believe; Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom; A Caldecott Celebration; Side by Side; Pass It Down; Storied City; and The Wand in the Word.

Several of his recent children's books, including Show Me a Story! and its companion volumes Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, and The Wand in the Word, are well loved by preteen and teen readers as well.

Leonard is one of the most trusted critics in the field. His incisive book reviews appeared in every issue of Parenting magazine for 21 years. He currently reviews for The New York Times Book Review among other publications, and writes “Sight Reading” a regular column on illustrated books for The Horn Book. Leonard is a three-time judge of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year prize, a standing member of The Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award committee, and was a judge of the 1996 National Book Awards. He has been a featured guest of ABC's Good Morning America, BBC Radio 4, C-SPAN 2 Book TV, WOR's Rambling with Gambling, Fox Network's Good Morning Sunday, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation,the Loose Leaf Book Company, WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show and Studio 360, Canadian Broadcasting Company's As It Happens, and WHYY Philadelphia's Radio Times. In 2006, Leonard served as literary director of The Night Kitchen Radio Theater, founded by Arthur Yorinks, with monthly performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., and regular broadcasts on XM Satellite Radio.

He has curated exhibitions on children's books and their illustration at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, where is also a founding trustee; New York Public Library; New School for Social Research; Vassar College Library; the Boston Athenaeum; Enoch Pratt Free Library; Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha); Katonah Museum of Art; and the Meridian International Center (Washington, DC).

Leonard has been a consultant to the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Book Foundation, Singapore National Arts Council, All for Kids Foundation, Norman Rockwell Museum, National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, and Book Globe Company Ltd (Japan). He is a member of the national board of the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (www.nccil.org) and the Mazza Museum national advisory board.

Leonard speaks to parents and professional groups throughout the U. S. and around the world. Recent appearances have included talks and lectures at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (Singapore), Japan Library Association (Tokyo), American Library Association, Iowa Librarians Convention, Charlotte Huck Festival, Yale University, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' National Conference, the Bologna International Children's Book Fair, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Mona Bismarck Foundation (Paris), Sidwell Friends School, the public schools of Conway, Arkansas, and Emporia, Kansas, and the national libraries of France and Japan. He enjoys speaking to schoolchildren, and offers a variety of presentations for preschoolers through teens.

Leonard was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, where he attended the public schools. He holds degrees in history from Yale and poetry from the University of Iowa Graduate Writers' Workshop. In 2007, Leonard was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street College of Education. He and his wife, the picture-book artist Amy Schwartz, live with their son Jacob in Brooklyn, New York.

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