The Man Who Loved Books, Trina Schart Hyman

Trina Schart Hyman's (1939-2004) work is well reknowned, her craftsmanship evident in her illustrations. Hyman did much work in the fairy tale genre, won four Caldecott awards and was the first art director for Cricket Magazine. She also was one of the first white American illustrators to regularly portray people of color in her work. Hyman illustrated more than 150 books in her career.
As time goes on, her work is more and more appreciated.

The Man Who Loved Books by Jean Fritz, is about Saint Columba of Ireland, well known for his love of books and missionary work throughout Scotland. The part legend, part true story is set in the Fifth Century, a time when most people did not own books. Columba loved the old stories of his country and learned to read young.

He loved books and was determined to read and copy every book he read.
Since books were usually kept in monasteries, Columba traveled to many monasteries, but was not always welcomed there, as some monks were overly protective of their books.

"... In addition to books, Columba loved Ireland. Every green blade of Irish grass. Every square inch of Irish sod. And he loved the church. To show how much he loved it, Columba gave up wordly ways. He put on a prickly, rough shirt made out of the manes of horses and wore it next to his skin. He slept with a stone for a pillow."

Angered over a High King's ruling on a book he copied, Columba organizes a war in which many were killed. Feeling ashamed because he started a war over a book, Columba vows to leave his beloved Ireland forever as his punishment.
A surprising resolution comes towards the end of his life. 

The Man Who Loved Books
By Jean Fritz
Illustrations by Trina S. Hyman
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981

To view some previous posts on Trina Schart Hyman, click on the title:


  1. Great textures on the guy's hairshirt here lol I've not seen so much of this more simplistic line style of Trina's work, and I really like it. Thanks Jil

  2. Such detail. Colour completely unecessary. Now to check out her other work.

  3. Hello - Kylie (comment above mine) gave me a link to your blog as she knew I would enjoy it. She chose the perfect post as an introduction. This book is wonderful! Looking forward to seeing more on your other posts - Sharon

  4. I really like her work. Thank you for introducing me to a new (to me) illustrator.
    Great blog, by the way.

  5. I'm always amazed that you manage to post books that I've never heard of even though they are by authors and illustrators I love.

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind comments!

  7. LOVE Trina Schart Hyman! We collect every book of hers we can get our hands on!