By John Lynds
Last Wednesday at the opening of a new exhibit inside Logan Airport’s Terminal C that celebrates children’s literature and some of the most prominent children’s literature authors, Massachusetts resident and author Jeff Kinney told a group of second and third graders from the James Otis Elementary School to never give up their dreams.
Kinney, author of the widely successful ‘Diary of Wimpy Kid’ book series that has sold over 190 million copies, told the students from the Otis the story of how he came to Boston to become a newspaper cartoonist. He was rejected numerous times before one editor told him there was a bigger story within his cartoons.
Kinney came up with the idea of a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley, who writes illustrated stories about his personal life. After he worked on the concept for eight years he published his first book in 2006 at the age of 35.
Kinney joined other local children’s book authors like Susie Rich (“Too Much Hopscotch”), Anna Alter (“Sprout Street Neighbors”), and author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka (“Lunch Lady” series) as well as Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker to celebrate the opening Logan’s exhibit “Massachusetts: Where Imagination Comes to Life.”
The walls inside of the Terminal E family playroom have been painted with characters, author biographies and quotes from some of the state’s most celebrated children’s book authors like Kinney, Dr. Seuss, Norman Bridwell (Clifford the Big Red Dog), and Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar).
In fact, Bridwell’s widower Norma Bridwell told a similar story to the Otis students of how her late husband was rejected time and time again as a children’s book illustrator until creating his own story about a big red dog named ‘Tiny’.
“It was my idea to name him Clifford,” said Mrs Bridwell with a smile.
Massport CEO Thomas Glynn said Massachusetts is also home to some of the world’s most beloved children’s book characters that grew from the imagination of extraordinarily talented authors and illustrators based in the Commonwealth. Favorites like A Very Hungry Caterpillar, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George – just to name a few – have all come to life in Massachusetts.
“This exhibit highlights another incredible facet of all Massachusetts has brought to the world and I am proud Massport was able to work with local authors and illustrators and Hudson Group to bring it to life,” said Glynn. “I look forward to seeing children’s faces light up as they see a familiar friend like Clifford or George up on the wall here at Logan.”
First Lady Baker took the opportunity to read passages from Rich’s “Too Much Hopscotch” to the Otis students and announced the students would all receive a free copy of the book.
“I am proud to join Massport in celebrating the Commonwealth’s local authors and illustrators who have helped inspire children around the world to love reading,” said Baker. “The children’s literature exhibit will continue to bring joy to children passing through Logan Airport for years to come.”
The exhibit was Inspired by an article by James Cullen in The Boston Globe last April on how Western Massachusetts has become a center for children’s literature authors, Massport officials, Linda Pizzuti Henry of The Boston Globe and Hudson News Group all came together to develop an exhibit to breath new life into the family play room at Terminal C.
Hudson Group has also opened a companion store to the exhibit down the hall, featuring local authors and artists’ work for curious kids and their families to check out before or after they fly.
“Hudson Group is proud to support such an amazing exhibit highlighting many of the Commonwealth’s talented children’s literature authors and illustrators,” said Joseph DiDomizio, President and CEO of Hudson Group, Division CEO North America of Dufry.
To celebrate the occasion, Hudson made a $5,000 donation directly to the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library on Bremen Street.
“The heart of our company’s philanthropy work is to support education and the school community,” said DiDomizio. “We look forward to championing that effort here in Boston.”