Author McClintock returning to JamestownA children’s book author with roots in Jamestown will return to the state of her childhood next month. Barbara McClintock, author and illustrator of award-winning titles including “Adele and Simon,” “Dahlia” and “Cinderella” heads to North Dakota in October to make presentations throughout the region including in Devils Lake on Oct. 6, the American Association of University Women bookstore in Jamestown on Oct. 8 and at Jamestown College on Oct. 11.
A children’s book author with roots in Jamestown will return to the state of her childhood next month.
Barbara McClintock, author and illustrator of award-winning titles including “Adele and Simon,” “Dahlia” and “Cinderella” heads to North Dakota in October to make presentations throughout the region including in Devils Lake on Oct. 6, the American Association of University Women bookstore in Jamestown on Oct. 8 and at Jamestown College on Oct. 11.
Karen Crane, coordinator of the Friends of Fine Arts events at Jamestown College, said she expects McClintock to inspire students and the community.
“She has been extremely successful in what she does,” Crane said.
Born in New Jersey, McClintock moved to Jamestown at age 9. She grew up in Jamestown with her mother, JoAnn Albrecht and her mother’s husband, Helmut. McClintock attended elementary and middle school here and graduated from Jamestown High School.
“It definitely was a big part of my early life,” she said of the Peace Garden state.
An artistic child, McClintock played the violin and liked to draw. At 13, her stepdad bought her a horse, one of the most important things to ever happen in her life, McClintock said.
As a girl, McClintock’s sister encouraged her to illustrate and author children’s books, so as an adult, she did.
McClintock attended Jamestown College after high school, but only for two years before moving to New York City. There, she checked art books out of libraries and copied the pictures, honing her craft.
When it came to children’s literature, however, she struggled at first. Sixteen publishers rejected her book and it was eight years before her drawings ever saw print.
“I was very lucky. A lot of people who do what I do have a very hard time getting work,” she said.
That story, “The Heartaches of a French Cat,” was published in 1989 and later won her the New York Times Best Book Award.
Today, McClintock has written and/or illustrated 37 titles and is under contract for four or five more projects. Fascinated with history and period costume, most of her books are set in the 19th century where the characters clothe themselves in long dresses, top hats and monocles. Educators can even devote lessons to her books, as “Adele and Simon,” for example, includes teaching tools for instructors.
“I do work and do drawings for that child that’s still inside me,” she said.
She’s also working on a photo book to illustrate singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant’s most recent album “Leave Your Sleep.”
And although her projects like the picture book and creating children’s literature for e-readers like Nook and Kindle take McClintock into territory that’s new, a children’s book museum is featuring some her earlier, older illustrations. Many of McClintock’s sketches, drawings and layouts from “The Heartaches of a French Cat” are on display at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.
These days, McClintock lives and works at her home in rural Connecticut, but rural North Dakota still influences her work.
In “Adele and Simon in America,” for example, the two Parisian children journey to the U.S. with their aunt. Set in 1905, the three travel by train and visit several landmark cities including New Orleans, Santa Fe and San Francisco. Included in their trip is a stop in Cooperstown, N.D.
“Images of that book came out of the farmhouse where my mom grew up,” McClintock said.
For her presentation at Jamestown College, McClintock plans to tell stories of her artistic influences and processes. Her writings and drawings, for example, begin the same way: by hand. Despite technology allowing authors and artists alike to create words and images on a computer, McClintock prefers the pureness of paper.
“It just seems very natural to me,” she said, saying she begins her with pencil and tablet lined paper.
In addition to her talk in Devils Lake as part of the North Dakota Chautauqua Lecture Series, McClintock will also visit with students in their classrooms.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com