From April 15 through Aug. 7, the High Museum of Art will present “Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books,” featuring 80 original drawings, sketches and finished illustrations by the award-winning artist and children’s book author.

The retrospective exhibition draws from 16 of Jeffers’ picture books spanning his career, including the wildly popular New York Times bestseller “The Day the Crayons Quit” as well as “The Incredible Book Eating Boy,” “A Child of Books” and “Once Upon an Alphabet.”

Organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the exhibition continues the High’s multiyear initiative to engage family audiences and inspire the Museum’s youngest visitors through picture book art.

“One of the guiding principles of our mission is a commitment to family audiences,” Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director, said. “By sharing the wonderful illustrations and stories in Jeffers’ books, we can help our young visitors appreciate that art is everywhere, and for everyone. As children engage with the images in the galleries, their experience will reinforce the important life lessons in Jeffers’ books, which relate to empathy, acceptance, friendship, love and loss.”

Born in Australia, raised in Northern Ireland and now based in Brooklyn, New York, Jeffers has written and illustrated more than 20 picture books in his career. From his 2004 debut “How to Catch a Star” to his more recent titles such as 2017’s “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” his work has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.

As an artist and storyteller, Jeffers crafts tales imbued with humor and humanity, with characters and creatures that have fascinated both children and adults alike.

“It is a thrill to present Jeffers’ artworks to our audiences and show them how he creates his fantastical worlds and connects them to the lives of his readers,” exhibition curator and manager of family programs Melissa Katzin said. “His books continue to inspire joy and bring hope, things that are so needed right now.”

The exhibition is organized into six sections, focused on Jeffers’ artistic process, character development and storytelling. They also highlight some of Jeffers’ most popular book series, including those that explore the secret lives of crayons and the relationship dynamics of The Huey family, who are inspired by Jeffers’ own childhood.

In addition to engaging graphics and design elements, the galleries feature a few reading areas where families can dig deeper into the stories.

Books featured in the exhibition include the following:

“How to Catch a Star” (2004), which tells the tale of a boy who loved the stars so much he had to catch one.

“Lost and Found” (2005), about the journey of a boy and a lost, or perhaps just lonely, penguin. The book was subsequently made into an animated film.

“The Incredible Book Eating Boy” (2006), about Henry, who luckily learns to enjoy books without using his teeth.

“The Heart and the Bottle” (2009), an award-winning tale of a young girl who decided to place her heart in a bottle to keep it safe.

“This Moose Belongs to Me” (2012), which comically relates the trials and tribulations of ownership, antlers and the rules of being a good pet.

“The Day the Crayons Quit” (2013), about what happens when crayons go on strike, and its sequel, “The Day the Crayons Came Home” (2015), featuring stories of lost and runaway crayons.

“Once Upon an Alphabet” (2014), in which Jeffers imagines life stories for all the letters, from A the astronaut to Z the zeppelin.

“Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth” (2017), Jeffers’ guide to living with kindness and tolerance, created for his son.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center, of which the High is also an arts partner, will present the world-premiere musical “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” (July 13-Aug. 7, 2022), based on Jeffers’ beloved book. The Alliance’s production is written by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Madhuri Shekar and will be directed by Jamil Jude (artistic director, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre). The production’s music is by Christian Magby with lyrics by Christian Albright.

The exhibition and play are made possible through a grant to The Woodruff Arts Center from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to expand programming and increase access for family audiences. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts and culture and is part of the family of foundations that also includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

“Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” will be presented in the special exhibition galleries on the Second Level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.

For more information about the High or to purchase tickets, visit


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