Inspiring Minds: Ed Emberley


I first heard about Ed Emberley at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference.

Ed has been making kids’ books since 1961, when his first book was declared an ALA winner. Since then, he’s illustrated more than 50 (!) children’s books, including Caldecott winners.

But that wasn’t what caught my attention about Ed. It’s his belief that anyone can make art—and his lifelong commitment to making kids believe that, too.

That’s what nearly all of Ed’s books are about actually: breaking down art into easy, accessible fun for kids.


And I have to confess … I like his books for me, too. Many of us loved art as a kid, but as we’ve “grown up,” we don’t feel worthy of creating art, especially with all the other practical matters on our plates.

But kids aren’t the only ones who need to be reminded:

Experiment! Create! Have fun! Do something silly and childish and perfectly, uniquely imperfect!

As if all of that weren’t inspiring enough, he also makes books to help deal with bullying, fear, and emotions.

There’s a bit of a romance element to Ed, too. Several of his books were written by his librarian-writer wife, and according to this bio I found, the two “enjoy printing limited editions of children’s books with their private hand press.”

PLUS he inspired these artists to paint cool murals for kids’ hospitals:

In another life, I think I might want to come back as Ed Emberley …

Ed, on behalf of me, my daughter, and all the people out there that have imagined their own crayon worlds and thumbprint people because of you, THANK YOU. I can definitively state that:

The world is a happier, more creative place because of Ed Emberley.

Have a recommendation for my Inspiring Minds feature? Let me know!

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