Acclaimed artist, author and San Francisco resident Ashley Wolff will be featured at San Francisco Public Library’s 14th Annual Effie Lee Morris lecture on May 13. Her lecture is titled, Sunrise/Sunset: Exploring the Many Cycles of Life in Picture Books.
“All the books that inspired me as a child were cycle books,” said Wolff, from the cycle of a single day, to the cycle of seasons or of journeys. “Children are aware of these cycles, while adults often take them from granted. But all of the important events in our lives are cycles.”
Calling the late Mrs. Effie Lee Morris Jones a “wonderful inspiration,” Wolff was honored to be named this year’s lecturer. “All the other lectures in this series have been amazing. I’m hoping to live up to that tradition.” Wolff’s lecture will begin at 6 p.m. on May 13, in the Koret Auditorium, Lower Level, at the Main Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Wolff has illustrated more than 50 books for children in her career, including the beloved Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten and six other books in this popular series about a multitasking border collie written by Joseph Slate. She illustrated Raffi’s Baby Beluga, the song about the “little white whale on the go,” that has delighted children for two decades; her most recent is Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth, written by Mary McKenna Siddals. She is also the author of numerous picture books, including When Lucy Goes Out Walking: A Puppy’s First Year; Stella and Roy; Stella and Roy Go Camping; Only the Cat Saw; and Me Baby, You Baby.
Her beautiful artwork is on view in the Fisher Children’s Center, Second Floor, Main Library, and will also be visible around the city this summer, on posters promoting this year’s Children’s Summer Reading Program at the Library.
Wolff knew from childhood that she wanted to be an artist, eventually graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. She worked as an illustrator including at Marin County’s Pacific Sun, before becoming an accomplished author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated her first book, A Year of Birds, in 1984, at the urging of a publisher she met in New York.
The Effie Lee Morris Lecture was established in 1996 to expand upon the idea of looking at children through their literature. The series is named in honor of Effie Lee Morris, who was the first coordinator of children’s services at the San Francisco Public Library from 1963 to 1977. As one of the pioneer children’s services leaders in the country, Morris was responsible for the development of the broad range of Library services now available to the children of San Francisco. She also developed the children’s historical and research collection—which is also named in her honor—to meet the needs of Bay Area researchers studying our view of children and their world as reflected in the books written for them.