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 “For the young person who is struggling in school, never forget there are many different ways to learn. Be curious. Do not be afraid to try. Do not be disappointed when making mistakes. You will discover your own unique way of understanding the things being taught. Learn from mistakes. Everything that happens to you will frame who you are, and who you will become. Your path to success will follow.”

--Jerry Pinkney 

 Jerry Pinkney's Visit to the White House

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Jerry was presented with the Artist Laureate Award in June 2016.  The award honors the contributions of outstanding visual artists who have exceptional dedication to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  Jerry is with Laurie Norton Moffat, left and former First Lady Laura Bush.

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Jerry Pinkney's Home for the Holidays, the White House 2001 Tour Brochure. 

Because of  9/11 attack in 2001, the White House annual Holiday Tour was cancelled.

From Jerry Pinkney: “It was a warm day in early September 2001 when the phone rang in my studio.  I stopped work to answer; the call was from the White House.  The caller was one of First Lady Laura Bush’s staff.  She had been directed to contact me in regards to a project that she was interested in me creating for the art of the 2001 White House Christmas program.  You can only imagine my surprise and amazement in receiving such a call.  I responded with a wholehearted "yes."  A meeting was setup that following Thursday to meet with Mrs. Bush’s staff and the White House design director.  The date was September the 6th, just five days before the 9/11 attack.  This would be the first of many visits to the White House.  The project began in earnest the week after the horrific act of violence with what seemed like insurmountable challenges.  However daunting, the project was completed and Gloria Jean, my wife, and I were invited to a reception at the White House for all the contributors who gave their time and talents to make the White House as festive, magical, and inviting as possible.  In so many ways, this gathering and celebration symbolized the resilience of this great country after such a national tragedy.  The theme was to have the White House have the feel of a winter wonderland with fifty Christmas trees decorated in gold and silver ornaments with the trees appearing to be covered in fresh snow.  I should actually say forty-nine trees, because in one of the rooms, one tree would be trimmed, yes in white, gold, and silver, but also adding to the tree’s adornment were reduced scale book jackets from books I’ve illustrated.

Jerry Pinkney Children's Books Featuring African Americans Honored on U.S. Stamps

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 U.S. Stamps Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

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Personal Tributes to Jerry Pinkney

“Jerry was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather whose impact influenced the creative endeavors of so many in our family,”

Gloria Jean Pinkney said in a statement.

I first met Jerry Pinkney in 2001. I had the privilege of interviewing him at his home in Croton on the Hudson. I was Editor in Chief of Reflections. The late James Daniel was my photographer. When we arrived, his wife Gloria said she had prepared lunch for us. This was so gracious of her to have lunch prepared for us. She welcomed us with open arms. Before starting the interview, he showed James and me a book that he was illustrating. He was drawing a picture of a hawk. He mentioned that he contacted the Bronx Zoo and asked if he could see a Red Tailed hawk. He told them he was an artist illustrating a book with a hawk in it, and he wanted to see a hawk a little closer. During his interview, he mentioned growing up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He mentioned that he loved to draw at an early age and worked at newsstands and shined shoes to make money to buy his art supplies. Before the interview was over, he told us that he was invited to the White House by First Lady Laura Bush. She wanted him to create the design for some White House ornaments and create the Holiday Christmas guide. This guide is what people would receive when they toured the White House during the holiday. Due to the 9/11 attack, the White House Holiday tour was cancel. Before we left the interview, he gave me one of the Holiday tour guide booklets. I was so honored and privileged to interview him and to have known him over the last 20 years. What an awesome and down to earth man he was. I became aware of Jerry’s passing from an email I received from book and stamp illustrator Higgins Bond.  She mentioned that Jerry was one of her mentors, and he got her involved in illustrating stamps. He will surely be missed in the children’s book world and in the illustration world. Rest In Peace, Jerry. 

Clarence McKnight-ESPER's webmaster


Megan Tingley, executive VP and publisher at LBYR, said, “Jerry’s indefatigable attention to, and love of his craft was unmatched, and he never stopped asking for his work to be pushed and challenged.  Everyone he worked with was touched by his infectious delight in the act of creation, which never waned, and his generous spirit of kindness and collaboration.”

Andrea Spooner, VP and editorial director at LBYR, shared this remembrance, “Jerry Pinkney was a true artistic legend of the children’s book industry for more than half a century, and it’s fair to say the industry today might look very different without his groundbreaking work.  As someone who worked with Jerry for more than 25 years, I can say that every interaction with him was a meaningful one.  He brought great joy, excellence, genuine personal connection, and dignity into every aspect of his work and being, and we will all miss him dearly.”

Neal Porter, VP and publisher of Neal Porter Books at Holiday House, paid tribute to his author and friend. “Jerry Pinkney was a man of limitless talent and unfailing kindness and generosity; it was a privilege to have him in my life.  The book we were working on at the time of his death was, in part, about the legacy that an artist leaves behind, and in Jerry’s case that legacy knows no bounds.”

On behalf of Rich Michelson (R. Michelson Galleries) and our entire gallery staff, we are saddened to share the news of our dear friend Jerry Pinkney’s passing.  Jerry was widely considered to be the greatest illustrator of our time, and while we were honored to show his art, it was his kindness and warmth that garnered him a special place within our gallery family.  Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and love are with Gloria and the entire Pinkney family.

Generous in all possible ways, Jerry Pinkney was a wonderful artist & wonderful man. Love for his art & his audience were evident in all he did. I already miss his heart, his hand, his wisdom, & good humor. Sincere condolences to Gloria & the whole family. Mo Willems

We join with the entire world of children's literature to mourn the passing of Jerry Pinkney. He changed the world with his books, showing children the way to become all they might be. He was a giant.  Ezra Jack Keats

Jerry Pinkney reading at the store in 2018, less than six months after we opened. He didn’t care that we were new and small, he was gracious and kind, warm and engaging, and generous with his time. Our thoughts are with his family. Split Rock Books

Sorry for your loss I was a school librarian and I read many of your books to my classes and they love them. Sheila L

The Pinkney family has suffered a great loss. and all those Jerry shared his GIFTED hands and mind. Be assured, God will sustain you through this valley and His Holy Spirit will bring back memories to comfort. Love from your North Carolina Thompson family roots. Demetria T.


I so loved studying Mr. Pinkney's books with my elementary school students. He spun magic, and graciously responded to our fan mail letters. What a huge loss. My deepest condolences to his family.  Stephanie M.


Like the dew in the morning may HE rest on the hearts for Jerry Pinkney's family and friends. So grateful to have met such a talented, gifted and intelligent human being.

Auntie J.

Many prayers for the Pinkney family and friends, may God dry your tears and heal your hearts in your time of sorrow, so very sorry for your loss. (Psalms 94:19)

Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.

What a wonderful author and an extremely talented illustrator, so many will miss him. My sincere condolences to the Pinkney family, may God help you all as you go through this very difficult time. R B

As a children's librarian in an American school in México before I retired, some of my favorite books to share at story hour were Mr. Pinkney's. And, the teachers, along with the students, loved them. He will be missed, but his books will live on. Ellen ledesma (Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico | Teacher)

Dear Pinkney Family Rory and I are sorry to hear about the passing of Jerry Pinkney.he'll surely be missed very much and may he rest in faith/rory

faith/rory tobin/dockett.  | Newton Centre/brighton, MA 

Rest well, sir. Your beautiful illustrations will live on forever in books you created for children & those of us who are children at heart. Lisa H| Springfield, OH | Teacher

What a talent he had. His legacy will live on. Our deepest condolences to the family. We pray that God continues to strengthen and comfort the family during this extremely difficult time.

Mr Pinkney was definitely a fantastic Author and illustrator. His pictures brought the books alive. To Mrs Pinkney and family I am sorry and offer my sincere sympathy. May God continue to be with your entire family. Lindsey

An amazing author that so many children were able to enjoy and learn from. Sincerest sympathies to the Pinkney family, so very sorry for your loss, may God be with you all.


Scott, so very sorry to hear of the passing of your father. While I never met him (except through his fabulous books/illustrations), I know he must have been an amazing man because you were such a kind and caring young man when we worked together so many years ago. Terry F.


Jerry was the first author for our Author Illustrator program when I began as Children’s Coordinator some 25 years ago. He and Gloria made it easy for me. They were relaxed, expert, and great guests!  Pabby A. | Baton Rouge, LA

Thank you, Jerry, for inspiring and delighting so many of us. Thank you, talented Pinkney family, for your loving legacy, so generously shared with the world.

Such a gifted writer whose books brought so much joy to so many, young and old. Heartfelt condolences to the Pinkney family, may God grant peace and strength to all of you, truly sorry for your loss.

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