green blue swirl endpapers by Eric Carle
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The Barbara Elleman Research Library Lecture Features Dr. Jonda C. McNair

The Carle is pleased to welcome Dr. Jonda C. McNair as guest speaker for the 2023 Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture on Saturday, April 22 at 2:00 pm at the Museum’s Amherst, MA location. The lecture is free with Museum admission.

Dr. McNair’s lecture, The End Is Just the Beginning: Examining Endpapers in Picture Books, will address endpapers as an aspect of picture book design that is worthy of careful attention by readers, authors, illustrators, and scholars of children’s literature. Endpapers, which open and close a book, can be as simple as well-chosen tints of colored paper stock to set a mood or establish a palette. They can also be rich and complex, providing another surface for the illustrator to use in their storytelling.

With a particular focus on endpapers, Dr. McNair will highlight scholarship related to other book features, like dust jackets, case covers, and title pages, including work by Dr. Lawrence R. Sipe. She will also share some of her own research on the different ways illustrators utilize endpapers to provide key details about literary elements in fiction and to impart information about people’s lives, contributions, and occupations in picture book biographies.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. McNair to The Carle. Endpapers have always been an important and creative part of our collection and study here at The Carle, including Eric Carle’s own endpapers. We look forward to learning more about them through Jonda’s rich and wide lens,” said Courtney Waring, director of education.

The BERL Lecture is an annual event featuring the country’s top scholars, book collectors, researchers, editors, authors, and illustrators in children’s literature. Past BERL Lecture speakers include Patricia Lee Gauch (2011); Betsy Hearne (2012); Peter Sís (2013); Timothy Young (2014); Jerry Pinkney (2015); Grace Lin (2016); Steven Kellogg (2017); Anita Silvey (2018); Neal Porter (2019), and Wendell Minor (2022).

About Jonda C. McNair, Ph.D.   

Jonda C. McNair is the Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Professor of Children’s Literature at The Ohio State University. She served on the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Award Selection Committee and chaired the 2021 John Newbery Award Selection Committee. Dr. McNair is the vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

About The BERL 

Established in 2003, the BERL is a non-circulating research collection of more than 1,500 volumes of professional resources and children’s books devoted to the study of children’s literature and the visual arts. The library is named for former Museum Trustee and Book Links magazine Founding Editor Barbara Elleman. Together with her late husband Don Elleman, she generously contributed the books that form the core of the collection and the support for its home within the Museum.

The unique organization of the collection highlights areas of interest such as author and illustrator biographies, literary criticism, illustration studies, and more. It is ideally suited for students, teachers, librarians, and other professionals interested in the study and use of children’s literature and the visual arts. The Picture Book Archive contains over 1,500 picture books from prominent illustrators from the 1970s to the early 2000s as well as titles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to being a resource for the public, the collection is often drawn upon for The Carle’s exhibitions and programming.

About Barbara Elleman

Barbara Elleman received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and her master’s degree in library science from the University of Denver. She worked as a school and public librarian before accepting a position in 1975 as a reviewer and editor for the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine. In 1990 she created and became editor-in-chief of Book Links. After leaving ALA in 1996, Elleman was named Distinguished Scholar of Children’s Literature at Marquette University in Milwaukee where she lectured and promoted the use of children’s books in the School of Education.

She has written books on Tomie dePaola, most recently The Worlds of Tomie dePaola: The Art and Stories of the Legendary Artist and Author (2021), as well as Virginia Lee Burton A Life in Art (2002). Elleman also guest curated, in 2009, two highly acclaimed exhibitions of original work by Virginia Lee Burton and Tomie dePaola. During her career, Elleman was particularly attracted to the art of the picture book. Her collection reflects that interest, with books about the illustrated book and picture books.  

About the Museum  

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the international champion for picture books. We collect, preserve, and exhibit original illustrations, encourage guests of all ages to read and create art, and foster an ever-growing audience passionate about children’s literature. 
The late Eric and Barbara Carle co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle was the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served nearly one million visitors. The Carle houses 9,000 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and school children. Bobbie’s Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and master’s degree programs in children’s literature with Simmons University. The Museum offers digital resources, including art activities, book recommendations, collections videos, exhibition videos, as well as workshops for online visitors. Learn more at and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram @CarleMuseum.  
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Dr. Jonda C. McNair discusses endpapers as an aspect of picture book design that is worthy of careful attention.