Thursday, May 10, 2012

Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx. She now lives in Manhattan.

She has written and illustrated thirteen children's books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John Jay Harvey. Her most recent children's book, 13 WORDS (Harper's) was a collaboration with Lemony Snicket.

She is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the "New Yorkistan" cover in 2001. Maira is currently creating an illustrated column for The New Yorker based on travels to museums and libraries.

Recent projects include illustrating Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style. A small opera based on the text was composed by Nico Muhly. She has created two monthly online columns for the New York Times. The first, The Principles of Uncertainty (2006-07), was a narrative journal of her life. The second, And The Pursuit of Happiness (2009) was a year long exploration of American History and democracy beginning with a story on the inauguration of Barack Obama. Both columns are now collected in book form, published by the Penguin Press.

Contact Maira Kalman at

"Kalman's paintings accompany the words to "Stay Up Late," the Talking Heads song. The action in this book is all in the pictures. A girl and boy somewhat cruelly entertain themselves by preventing their baby brother from sleeping, yanking and tossing him, pulling his hair, blasting him with music: "He's just a little plaything/ Why not wake him up?" Meanwhile, adults are shown drinking, dancing, daydreaming or napping, but not paying much attention to the children. Kalman uses a pseudochildish composition and style, imaginative and energetic, with lots of inventive asides, but her art has a mean-spirited edge that takes its cue from the lyrics: "We want to make him stay up all night." This book has a definite appeal for hip adults, but it's not for the literal-minded child." Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

- Publisher's Weekly

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