Award-winning author and illustrator duo hold first-in-a-series talk at NIU – Northern Star

Madelaine Vikse

James E. Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome held a talk Wednesday in the Recital Hall of the Music Building where they discussed their work in illustration and children’s books. (Madelaine Vikse | North Star)

The team of award-winning authors and illustrators, James Ransome and his wife Lesa Cline-Ransome, gave the first talk in a series Wednesday at the Music Building.

Throughout his three-decade career, Ransome has received a NAACP Picture Award and a Coretta Scott King award for her illustrations.

Ransome also teamed up with his wife Lesa Cline-Ransome to create booksRansome’s illustration and Cline-Ransome’s writing.

The first talk, “One Book, One Page, One World: The Artistic Journey of Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome”, was a combined talk between the two that focused on how their artistic relationship and their personal relationship interact .

The Ransomes explained how their storytelling process works. They take underrepresented and untold stories and try to find ways to start conversations about fairness, resistance and hope.

In attempts to tell stories of resistance to young people, the Ransomes seek to teach readers that they can look to the past for ideas on how to move forward.

“Resistance then was a roadmap for resistance now,” Cline-Ransome said.

Ransome tries to connect younger generations with stories from the past.

“I try to be the string that connects a variety of things — Satchel Paige, Major Taylor — and brings them back into the conversation,” Ransome said.

Satchel Paige and Major Taylor are among the characters the Ransomes have written about together. Ransome chose Paige and Taylor because he thinks they are among the best in their sport, Paige for baseball and Taylor for cycling, but got no recognition due to their skin color and discrimination .

The Ransomes also looked at how past culture, especially historically underrepresented parts, affects modern culture.

Their focus on African American music, writing, and sports adds much to the conversation about these forms of rebellion.

“The blues speak to the best of our creativity and ingenuity,” Cline-Ransome said. “It is part of our cultural heritage.

The Ransomes concluded their talk by sharing how they want to help young people discover stories that create hope for the future and inspire change and progress in the world.

Jerry L. Johns, Sycamore resident and former NIU professor, said the conference meshed well with his area of ​​research, literacy.

“I felt like the program might be interesting,” Johns said.

“This conference is directly aligned with our visions and values,” said Paul Kassel, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Kassel praised the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, linking literature, art and social justice. He also said that this conference builds what he calls a circle of virtue.

“It helps us promote each other and inspire each other to progress,” Kassel said.

Ransome will give the next two lectures alone.

Ransome’s second lecture, “A Harmony of Pictures and Words,” will take place at 6 p.m. on October 13 in Altgeld Hall 125.

The lecture will focus on the combination of words and images in storytelling. Ransome plans to talk about how words and illustrations work together to tell a cohesive story.

Ransome’s final lecture will take place at 2 p.m. on October 15 in the Rotunda Gallery of the NIU Art Museum at Altgeld Hall.

The final conference will be more informal than the first two. This is the closing reception for Ransome’s visit to NIU and the exhibition of his art at the Rotunda Gallery.

For more information, contact Shelby Holtz of the NIU Art Museum by emailing her at [email protected] or see the NIU Event calendar messages on these conferences.

Angela C. Hale