Abilene is now the Storybook Capital of America.
Previously the Storybook Capital of Texas, Abilene’s downtown museums and sidewalks are home to multiple storybook character statues.
Sidney Levesque, marketing director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, said this means that families can come to Abilene and have experiences relating to familiar books and art.
One of the most popular local museums is the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). Throughout the NCCIL, illustrations from children’s books are displayed.
Abilene was named the Storybook Capital of Texas after being approved by state legislature in 2015.
In recent years, families began to travel to the Children’s Festival from across the country, expanding the knowledge of local children’s art.
“I think because we’re drawing people from other states to Abilene to experience the different storybook things, they felt like we should go ahead and have the title Storybook Capital of America,” Levesque said.
Because there is no designated body to claim the national title, it was trademarked through the U.S. Patent and Tradebook Office.
Trish Dressen, executive director of the NCCIL, said the city began appreciating storybook art when the mayor read a book to local school children in 1993 at a local ranch.
The book, “Santa Calls”, was written by William Joyce, who later met with the mayor to discuss the preservation of original illustrations from the book following publication.
Joyce agreed to donate the art, contributing to the mayor’s idea of the NCCIL.
“We’re proud to be the very beginning of what is now an incredible legacy to be the Storybook Capital of America,” said Dressen.