Collecting Articles and Features

Joan Walsh Anglund Books and Collectibles

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In the realm of children’s literature and poetry, few have captured the essence of childhood innocence and wonder quite like Joan Walsh Anglund. With her gentle prose and distinctive, round-faced illustrations, she has touched the hearts of millions around the world. For over half a century, her work has resonated with both young readers and adults, making her one of the most celebrated American writers and illustrators of her time. We take a look at a brief look at her life, her books and the range of collectibles associated with her characters.

A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You Joan Walsh Anglund 1958 First Edition and other books
A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You Joan Walsh Anglund 1958 First Edition and other books.

Born in 1926, Joan began her journey in the world of art and literature at a young age. But it was in 1958 that she made her indelible mark with her debut book, “A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You.” This heartwarming title set the tone for her future works, delving into the simple joys and profound truths of human relationships. The universality of her themes, combined with her distinctive illustrative style—featuring faceless characters that paradoxically convey a world of emotion—made her an instant favorite.

Vintage 1972 Joan Walsh Anglund Baseball Player Boy Dog Ceramic Coin Bank
Vintage 1972 Joan Walsh Anglund Baseball Player Boy Dog Ceramic Coin Bank. Sold for $39.97 on ebay, July 2023.

Anglund’s books often come to life through delicate watercolor illustrations, mirroring the simplicity and depth of her prose. The faceless characters she creates enable readers to see themselves in the stories, transcending boundaries of age, race, and culture. This unique style became synonymous with her name, garnering acclaim and establishing her as a staple in children’s literature.

Selected Bibliography

  1. “A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You” (1958)
  2. “Love Is a Special Way of Feeling” (1960)
  3. “Christmas Is a Time of Giving” (1961)
  4. “Childhood Is a Time of Innocence” (1964)
  5. “Hope Is a Ferris Wheel” (1966)
  6. “Faith Is a Flower” (1968)
  7. “Courage Is a Little Voice” (1970)
  8. “Joy Is an Inside Job” (1975)
  9. “A Gift of Love” (1980)
  10. “The Circle of the Spirit” (1983)
  11. “A Slice of Snow: A Book of Poems” (1991)
  12. “Friends” (1998)
  13. “Cobbler’s Dream” (2002)
  14. “Love Makes the World Go Round” (2007)
  15. “Childhood Memories” (2015)

Beyond just her books, Joan Walsh Anglund’s wisdom is often shared in the form of quotable nuggets, spreading warmth and insight in just a few words. Quotes like “Joy is the feeling of grinning inside” encapsulate her ability to put complex emotions into relatable terms.

Beyond the captivating pages of her books, Joan Walsh Anglund’s characters and sentiments have taken a tangible form, delighting fans and collectors for generations. These collectibles have become cherished tokens of a bygone era, and for many, they are a nostalgic gateway to childhood memories and the profound lessons encapsulated within Anglund’s work.

Dolls: One of the most sought-after collectibles are the Joan Walsh Anglund dolls. These handcrafted dolls, often made with intricate details, mirror the faceless characters of her books. Made from various materials over the years, including porcelain and cloth, they are reminiscent of the innocent simplicity that is so iconic in Anglund’s illustrations.

Figurines: Ceramic and porcelain figurines inspired by Anglund’s characters have been popular among collectors. These figurines, often accompanied by a sentiment or quote from her books, capture poignant moments of childhood, friendship, and love.

Beswick figures by Joan Walsh Anglund
Beswick figures by Joan Walsh Anglund

Calendars and Stationery: Over the years, Anglund’s endearing illustrations have graced various calendars, greeting cards, and stationery items. These products, often adorned with her heartfelt quotes, allow fans to integrate a bit of her wisdom and charm into their daily lives.

Vintage Joan Walsh Anglund Hallmark Stickers
Vintage Joan Walsh Anglund Hallmark Stickers. Sold for $7.50 on ebay, August 2023.

Ornaments: Particularly around the holiday season, Joan Walsh Anglund ornaments have become treasured items. Whether made of glass, wood, or ceramic, these ornaments often feature her classic characters in festive scenes, adding a touch of heartwarming nostalgia to any Christmas tree.

Music Boxes: Joan Walsh Anglund’s music boxes are treasures that encapsulate childhood nostalgia, playing melodies as timeless as her illustrated tales. These whimsical keepsakes, adorned with her iconic faceless characters, transport collectors to moments of innocence and wonder.

Joan Walsh Anglund music box 1983 plays Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Joan Walsh Anglund music box 1983 plays Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Sold for $49.95 on ebay, July 2023.

Plate Collections: Limited edition plate collections have also been released, each showcasing Anglund’s signature illustrations. Often, these plates are framed and displayed as artwork, showcasing the beautiful blend of her poetic sentiments and art.

Books with Signed Illustrations: For those deeply invested in the world of literary collectibles, signed copies of her books, or those with original drawings, are the ultimate find. These unique editions provide a personal connection to the author and illustrator, making them invaluable to many.

Joan Walsh Anglund To Be A Ballerina Together group of 3 storyboard illustrations
Joan Walsh Anglund “To Be A Ballerina.” Together, group of 3 storyboard illustrations for pages 28 through 33 of A Bedtime Book by Anglund (New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1993). Watercolor and blue pen background on paper with acetate overlay, which has text pastedowns and is printed with image details. Sold for $950 at Swann Auction Galleries, June 2021.

Even today, in an age dominated by digital distractions, the timeless nature of Joan Walsh Anglund’s work stands out. Her commitment to exploring the depth of human emotions, from the perspective of children and with the innocence they embody, ensures that her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

Moomin Books and Moomin Collectables

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