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Friday, September 11, 2015

Aiming for 'the inner child'

"The illustrations in picture books are the first paintings most children see, and because of that, they are incredibly important. What we see and share at that age stays with us for life."
  – Anthony Browne
Browne, a British writer and illustrator of children's books, was born this date in 1946.  He said he started drawing and writing when he was 5 and “never really stopped.”  With some 40 books to his credit – headed by the multiple award-winning book Gorilla – he is perhaps the preeminent member of the genre today.  He’s twice won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international honor that can be bestowed on creators of children's books.

While English obviously is his primary language, he’s pleased that his books have been presented in 26 languages around the globe.  “I don’t like narrowing my readers down – there’s not a particular age or gender or nationality,” he said.  “I suppose I’m aiming at the child I was. I never want to make a child worried or afraid, and I don't think I do. My pictures are born from the belief that children are far more capable and aware of social complexities than we give them credit for.”
Anthony Browne

While he enjoyed art as a boy and used to draw with his father, he also was active in sports, playing rugby, soccer and cricket.  He said as a teenager his goals were to be either a journalist, a cartoonist, or a boxer, but he always gravitated back to doing things for kids.   
“Never forget that children are at the heart of everything we do,” he said. “Respect them, listen to them, talk to them as equals and most of all, care about them.”

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