Painter and illustrator Joe McKendry, whose work has appeared in Esquire, Vanity Fair and countless others, may have authored last year’s New York City Book Award winner (and New York Times Best Illustrated book) One Times Square (Times Square, 1955 illustration pictured right), but he actually calls Boston home. And so when the bombs went off last April near the marathon finish line, not far from the Boston Public Library where he’d spent many afternoons with his three children, he took it personally. Then he had an idea.
“For most children’s book illustrators, drawing pictures is how we share ideas and stories, but also how we convey excitement and hope,” he says. “I wondered if there was a way those same pictures could also help heal.”
There was: McKendry called on some artist pals, who then called on their artist pals, to help launch We Art Boston, a fundraising campaign featuring an online auction of more than 100 personal donations from some of today’s most beloved children’s book illustrators, including many Caldecott winners. Online bidding for original, signed works of art by Ian Falconer (creator of Olivia, everyone’s favorite ballet dancing pig), Chris Raschka, David Macaulay, Mo Willems (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!), and more than 40 others begins October 10, with all proceeds going to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Fund.
“My wife and I have read our kids I Stink, by James McMullan and his wife Kate, so many times that the cover is worn to rough cardboard and the pages are falling out,” says McKendry, who points to McMullan’s “My Bed is a Boat,” from Julie Andrews’ book of the same name, as one of his favorites among We Art Boston’s donations. “And yet we never grow tired of it. It’s become as much a comfort to them as it is to us.”
Scroll down for a sampling of the works; for a complete preview, visit weartboston.org. Biddings opens October 10.
David Macaulay: Surprise!
Ink, Marker & Colored Pencil
From Shortcut, 1995
Ian Falconer: Olivia
Pencil & Gouache
Unpublished illustration of Olivia, 2012
Aaron Meshon: Holiday Time!
Acrylic on Paper
Personal work, 2004
Mo Willems: Elephant, Piggy & Pigeon
Blue Pencil on Layout Bond
Unpublished drawing completed on Today, 2013
Christoph Neimann: Petting Zoo
Limited Edition Silkscreen Print
From Petting Zoo, an interactive picture book for iPad and iPhone, 2013
Henry Cole: Penguin Pride
Watercolor & Pencil
From And Tango Makes Three, 2005
Chris Raschka: Ugandan Mothers and Children
Watercolor on Rice Paper
From Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World, 2011
Marc Rosenthal: Pies in the Sky
Ink, Watercolor & Pencil
From Phooey!, 2007
Dan Yaccarino: Doug Unplugged
Acrylic on Paper
From Doug Unplugged, 2013
To donate directly to Boston Children’s Hospital Emergency and Trauma fund, click here.