Summary of “Profile: Maira Kalman, Author and Illustrator”

Not all her fans think of Maira Kalman primarily as a writer, but that’s how she described herself to me when we met last month.
My excuse for writing about Kalman is the reissue of several stories for children that she published in the 1990s, starring a dog called Max.
In those texts, her other work for children, and her work for adults, Kalman is the remix artist she describes above, one for whom image and word are intertwined and of equal importance.
In her work for adults, Kalman is almost a diarist, which breeds a certain deceptive sense of familiarity.
The bare bones of her life, gleaned from our conversation and her books: Kalman was born in Israel, in 1949, and her family relocated to the States when she was still a toddler.
In Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything, a children’s biography of the statesman, Kalman writes candidly about the man.
The book succeeds because Kalman is so forthright, the rare adult willing to admit to kids that scary things happen.
In My Favorite Things, Kalman writes, “The artist Charlotte Salomon lived in this room in Berlin in the 1930s. She painted and wrote about her family in a book called ‘Opera or Life.’ People were always coming and going and dying. She was killed in the Holocaust. Which brings us inevitably to sorrow.”

The orginal article.