Illustration by Jason May

The Library of the Early Mind

“Library of the Early Mind” is an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves.

From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes that stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. “No one suspects the children’s writer,” says author and illustrator Mo Willems, a former 'Sesame Street' writer.

The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact. The number of books in print by the authors in 'Library of the Early Mind' exceeds 240 million.

Edward J. Delaney, director and co-producer, is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker. Delaney directed and produced a documentary film, The Times Were Never So Bad: The Life of Andre Dubus, which premiered in 2007. He is a recipient of a 2008 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a winner of the 2005 PEN/Winship Award for Fiction, and a past winner of an O. Henry Prize for short story writing. His work has been included in Best American Short Stories, and he has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award. As a journalist he has written for such publications as The Denver Post, The Chicago Tribune and The Atlantic, and is a past winner of the National Education Reporting Award, as well as other national and regional awards. In 2008-2009, Delaney served as an Assistant Editor of The Nieman Journalism Lab, at The Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University. He has published three books of fiction, the novels Broken Irish (2011) and Warp & Weft (2004) as well as the collection The Drowning and Other Stories (1999), and has published short stories and nonfiction regularly in The Atlantic and other magazines and quarterlies. He is the co-author of Born to Play, by Boston Red Sox second baseman and 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia. His play The Umbrella Man, based on his short story "Conspiracy Buffs," premiered at The Pittsburgh Playhouse in September 2010.

Steven Withrow, co-producer, is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, teacher, and author of six instructional books meant for visual artists and storytellers: Toon Art, Webcomics, Character Design for Graphic Novels, Vector Graphics and Illustration, Secrets of Digital Animation, and Illustrating Children’s Picture Books. Steven studied creative writing, publishing, and journalism at Roger Williams University and Emerson College and has taught children’s literature and media writing at Rhode Island School of Design and Suffolk University. His poems and stories have been published in numerous print and online literary magazines and comics anthologies. He is an advisory board member of the Keene State Children’s Literature Festival. He lives with his wife and daughter in Rhode Island.