The Friends of the Mercer Island Library to Honor Ted Rand

Ted Rand, best known to Islanders for his children’s book illustrations, will be honored October 23rd at 1:00 PM at the Mercer Island Library when a framed watercolor for the book Salt Hands is unveiled by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.

“The Friends have been looking for a way to acknowledge Ted’s contributions to his craft and his community for a couple of years,” said Suzanne Sanderson, Friends member who was responsible for finding the painting. And it was a bit of a search. “We had been told that there was no original artwork available, but were fortunate to discover this one when it came on the market.”

A professional graphic designer who took up children’s book illustrating at a time in his life when most people are planning retirement travel, Rand had 80 books to his credit before he died in 2005 at age 89. Among them were the popular Salty Dog series, Home for Spooky and The Baby in the Basket, all of which were done in partnership with his wife, Gloria, herself an accomplished author of at least 15 children’s books, all of them full of Rand’s watercolors, many of which will be on display the day of the dedication. Several of their books will be on display the day of the dedication.

Rand distinguished himself as a graphics artist with work that appeared in The New Yorker, Life, Encyclopedia Britannica, but he also was commissioned for portraits of Washington notables such as John Spellman, Dorothy Bullitt and Charles Odegaard. He taught graphic illustration at the University of Washington for 22 years.

The Friends chose to honor Rand not only for his contributions to children’s literature, but also for his giving-back ethic. He cast a wide net over many Island organizations, giving freely of his graphic expertise. He juried shows for the Mercer Island Visual Arts League, provided promotional materials for the City’s Mercerversary celebration in 1976 and designed logos for several Island organizations.