Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street - Grand Lobby

November 14, 2009 - February 21, 2010
Central Library, Grand Lobby
Forty Years of Sesame Street Illustration:

Selections from the Publishing Archive at

Sesame Workshop

curated by the Sesame Workshop

"Our editorial staff...[has] been watching the outstanding progress of your Sesame Street show with real respect and admiration."
—Letter from Western Publishing, Inc., to Joan Ganz Cooney, cofounder and creator of
Sesame Street, January 7, 1970

Generations of children know Cookie Monster, Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar, Zoe, and Ernie and Bert. For 40 years, these and other Sesame Street television characters have also come to life in books, in the stories you were read as a child or are sharing with your family today.

With the critical and popular success of the first season (1969 – 1970) of Sesame Street, the Children's Television Workshop (CTW, called Sesame Workshop today) began licensing books, puzzles, games, and toys to help support its educational projects and extend the television show's school readiness curriculum goals. In 1970, both well-known children's book publishers Random House and Western Publishing Company (home of Little Golden Books) contacted CTW about publishing books with Sesame Street characters and themes.

Stories were often original works written to explore particular educational themes—literacy and counting, friendship and sharing, healthy habits, "green" themes, people in your neighborhood. Talented illustrators rendered Sesame Street's well-known characters in several different art styles and media.

Today, illustrators use various digital illustration techniques to create books by more than 75 domestic and international licensees. Some classic titles, such as The Monster at the End of This Book, are being updated to current formats, such as animated books on disk. Ebooks are also available from www.sesamestreet.org.

The Sesame Street books represented here reflect the talent and diversity of their illustrators and also the great inspiration of New York City's streets, communities and characters. Generations of children have learned to read with the help of Sesame Street on TV and in print. And the library will always have an important place on the Street—and in your neighborhood.

"Sesame Workshop"®, "Sesame Street" ®, and associated characters, trademarks, and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. ©2009 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

BPL - Exhibition: Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, Sesame Street USA logo The Publishing Archive of Sesame Workshop was formed in 2006, when a cache of original book art was returned to Sesame Workshop from a former Western Publishing storage facility. The Archive has expanded to include record albums and singles ("45s"), original celluloid animation, photographs and slides documenting domestic and international productions, and other materials pertaining to the history of Sesame Street and other Workshop programs and properties.

For Sesame Street learning fun, visit www.sesameworkshop.org

BPL - Exhibition: Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, illustration from Sesame Street Shapes
Illustration:"Sesame Street Shapes"
frame tray puzzle, Leon Jason Studios,
Western Publishing Compant, 1971
TM & ©2009 Sesame Workshop

BPL - Exhibition: Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, Cover illustration from Glover's Bad Awful Day
Cover Illustration from Glover's Bad Awful Day, Tom Brannon
Western Publishing Company, 1986
TM & ©2009 Sesame Workshop

BPL - Exhibition: Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, illustration: Food by Cookie Monster
Illustration: "Food by Cookie Monster"
Mike Pantuso
Random House, 2002
TM & ©2009 Sesame Workshop

BPL - Exhibition: Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street, illustration from 'Going Up
Illustration: "Going Up", Tom Leigh
Western Publishing Company, 1980
TM & ©2009 Sesame Workshop

 

This exhibition is made possible in part by The Jim Henson Company and The Jim Henson Legacy.