Amelia Edwards, the founding art director of Walker Books Group, died November 22. She was 77. In a statement, Candlewick Press noted that the American-born Edwards came to London in the late '60s and was the first person Sebastian Walker employed to establish his company: "Her unique vision remains central to the heart of the picture books made at the Walker Books Group and at Candlewick Press today.... Groundbreaking in terms of art, design and production, these startling, vivid, beautiful picture books are perfect examples of the best that Candlewick still strives for." Edwards also worked closely with Helen Oxenbury to design the Candlewick and Walker bear logo.
"She enthused those of us who were privileged enough to have worked alongside her with her energy, her humor (she really loved to laugh--which she did often and loudly), and her sharing, inclusive nature," said Walker picture book publisher Deirdre McDermott. "We learned everything about typography and great picture book illustration from Amelia. She used to say that she was 'in charge of the white space.' Amelia was the most generous mentor and friend. She taught us that sometimes feeling was more important in a picture than perfect draftsmanship, that the carrot was more productive than the stick, and that you should never, ever tell any artist what to do.
"The picture book world owes her so much, her influence is simply immeasurable, and we will never see her like again. Amelia's legendary reputation remains peerless, and the brilliant books she helped create for the Walker Group will remain her, and our, eternal legacy."