Writers/Illustrator in Residence
The Writer/Illustrator-In-Residence at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC), home of the Marantz Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art, volunteers his/her expertise to students by participating in workshops, course lectures, student group events, the Virginia Hamilton Conference and the Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium. The writer/illustrator in residence shares office space in the RCLC and may use the Reinberger and Marantz collections as inspiration for their own work.
As a children’s book illustrator, Szalay creates whimsical images with digital drawing and painting techniques. “I feel traditions in storytelling and particularly books for children are extremely important to people of all ages,” Szalay says. “Books facilitate essential interaction between children and adults, and help foster, language, imagination and establish a child’s view of the world.”
His debut picture book, The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems About Our 16th President, written by Eileen Meyer, was published in November 2019 with praise for Szalay's "attractive, folksy art" from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. Other picture books illustrated by Szalay include The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t (written by Artie Bennett) and Travel Guide for Monsters (written by Lori Degman), which will be released in April 2020.
Szalay hopes to develop and publish more quality books for children and their respective caretakers and educators. He views this residency as an exciting opportunity for professional development in writing and illustrating children’s literature. Szalay looks forward to engaging with students and practitioners at Kent State through various events, like the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth and the Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium. He also plans to conduct scholarly research on storytelling with visual narratives by analyzing works in the Marantz and Reinberger collections.
Will Hillenbrand has authored/illustrated more than 60 children’s picture books and has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, International Reading Association Children’s Choice Awards and an American Library Association Notable Book Award.
The late Kenneth Marantz, Ph.D., a former art professor at The Ohio State University, book reviewer, and devoted advocate for picturebook artists had a huge influence on the life and work of Hillenbrand. What began as a student-teacher relationship, turned into a more than 30-year friendship. This friendship is what makes Hillenbrand’s role as the writer- and illustrator-in-residence a special one. The Marantz Collection in the RCLC was a gift from Marantz and his wife, Sylvia, and represents their lifelong devotion to the study of picturebook art.
Angela Johnson served as the iSchool’s first writer-in-residence from 2014-2016. Johnson has published more than 40 children’s books that celebrate African-American history, and her personal childhood experience. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award by the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award honors the author and a specific body of work for a significant contribution in writing for young adults. Some of her most recognized books include, Heaven, Looking for Red, The First Part Last, Sweet Hereafter, Bird, Toning the Sweep and All Different Now. Johnson received the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Award. the 2004 Michael L. Printz Award, and in 2003, she received the MacArthur Genius Grant.