The Brooklyn Public Library is current exhibiting a 20-year retrospective exhibit of Brooklyn Heights resident — and BHB 10 member — Melanie Hope Greenberg’s picture books that portray the city’s urban communities.
The show, “Ordinary into Extraordinary,” runs until June 13 in the Youth Wing of the library’s main branch at 10 Grand Army Plaza.
When a child grows up in an urban environment, simple everyday occurrences can become extraordinary when the child first discovers the wonder of them. The ordinary also becomes extraordinary when captured in art. Most of my books portray various views of urban life in a snapshot. There are ordinary moments, like a child watching a Brooklyn Heights dog walker in On My Street, and extraordinary moments, like a bird’s eye view of early morning Brooklyn in A City Is or a local Coney Island performance art troupe in Mermaids on Parade.
When I was young, my world vision was shaped in part by looking at picture books, either at home or in school. I could visually identify objects before I knew how to read their names. With that memory in mind, I illustrate children’s picture books so that the art conveys my story in a clear and detailed way. I relate my own environment to those who may never visit New York City. As much as children are literal thinkers, I respect their innate intuitive curiosity. My goal is to broaden children’s vision and help them learn to read.