ABILENE IS THE HOME OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S ILLUSTRATED LITERATURE, a brilliant gallery/bookstore/creative place that honors art and artists featured in children's books. It was conceived in 1993 when the then-mayor, Dr. Gary McCaleb, discovered that the book he was reading to a group of grade school students was set in Abilene. He invited the author of "Santa Calls," William Joyce, to speak at a Cultural Affairs Council luncheon. Joyce (who had never been to Abilene) and the mayor hit it off and a seed was planted which bloomed into the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature – affectionately known as "The NCCIL" (nickel).
Excerpted from this month’s print edition of Slice magazine. To read the full article, click here to read our digital edition.