It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . the time when we get to show off all of the beautiful artists’ Christmas and New Year’s cards in the children’s literature collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia. When we started processing the papers of children’s authors and illustrators Lloyd Alexander, Carolyn Haywood, and Robert Lawson as part of a CLIR-funded “Hidden Collections” grant, we didn’t expect that some of the most charming pieces of artwork would be mundane, ephemeral greeting cards. But these artists’ creativity spilled over into everything they did, and their handmade Christmas cards are often miniature gems. Robert and Marie Lawson even designed Christmas cards professionally, producing one a day for three years in the 1920s in order to pay for their first house. Other authors like Lloyd Alexander, best known for his Chronicles of Prydain series, only dabbled in drawing. Alexander’s humorous self-caricatures adorn Christmas cards sent to his friends, who would be sure to get the joke. Carolyn Haywood’s papers include not only the cards she designed, but also the hand-made cards sent to her by her artistic mentors, the Red Rose Girls. Don’t miss this seasonal exhibit, now on display on the ground floor of Parkway Central!