Since his childhood in Aurora, Illinois, Wendell Minor has had a romance with America. And as he explores more regions more closely, his love of the country grows with a vision that celebrates the beautiful, the lyrical. After completing his studies at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, Minor began creating original designs for Hallmark Cards, as well as book publishers in New York City. His cover illustrations have enhanced more than 2,000 works.
The artist draws upon his lifelong affinity for environmental issues to create illustrations for children’s books, which he finds especially satisfying. They allow him to combine his love of the outdoors with his independent pursuits – including painting the landscape from life, in the tradition of classic American painters such as Homer, Hopper, and Wyeth. His wish is to inspire children to go out into the fields and woods and mountains to see wildlife in its natural habitat, and to give the children a positive perspective about the beauty that abounds in the world.
To research his children’s books, Minor has traveled from the tropical Everglades to the Arctic Circle to the Midwest to the Grand Canyon. He loves bringing the scenes of nature to children and is particularly close to the children’s books he has illustrated. Minor has said, “A picture invites the viewer into it and offers a sense of mystery. It lets the viewer become part of the process.”
His award-winning books have frequently been named on the annual lists for Notable Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies, Outstanding Science Trade Books, and IRA Teachers’ Choices. His books have also received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Parents’ Choice Awards and been featured on PBS’s The Reading Rainbow.
Wendell Minor has had numerous solo exhibitions, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of Norman Rockwell Museum, the Illinois State Museum, Muskegon Museum of Art, Mattatuck Museum (of Connecticut), the Mazza Museum at Findlay University, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Museum of American Illustration, NASA, Arizona Historical Society, U.S. Coast Guard and the Library of Congress.
A Trustee Emeritus of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Minor serves on the Advisory Council for the Connecticut Center for the Book, and is a member of The Children’s Book Council (CBC), a non-profit trade organization dedicated to encouraging literacy and the use and enjoyment of children’s books. Referring to himself as a “recovering dyslexic,” he speaks in classrooms across the country, sharing with students of all ages the difficulties he experienced with reading as a child, and for those who have similar difficulties, how they too can overcome them.
Minor lives and works with his wife, author Florence Minor, and their two cats, in rural Connecticut.