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Once upon a time, there was a city called Abilene, Texas, that dedicated itself to showcasing the wonders of children’s literature. The city built a museum that was the first of its kind in the nation called the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Then came Storybook Sculptures of characters from children’s books populating downtown Abilene. The city started an annual event called the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival that grows each year.
In 2015, the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas designated Abilene as the official Storybook Capital of Texas for its efforts to celebrate literary works for children. Since then, the Storybook Capital’s draw has expanded across America. The CALF brings people from multiple states each year, and NCCIL exhibits tour across the nation. To recognize the growing appeal of the Storybook Capital, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council in partnership with the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau decided in 2018 to trademark the term “Storybook Capital of America” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The NCCIL exhibits, tours, collects, preserves and promotes original art from the finest children’s literature. Our vision is to inspire and empower children to read and be creative. Through our programming and outreach, the NCCIL actively promotes children’s literacy, both art and reading, in the Abilene community and beyond.