Thomas Cole’s Story, which children and their families can flip through and enjoy together, was created to show kids that historic characters like Thomas Cole were real people with exciting stories to tell.
The idea for the project arose when Betsy Jacks, mother of two and Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, was planning a family trip to another historic site. She searched at length for a kid-friendly introduction to the place they would soon be exploring, but alas, a scouring of the internet turned up nothing.
“To make the most out of our visit to the historic site, I wanted to get my kids engaged before they even stepped in the door,” said Betsy.
Betsy took stock of the offerings at the Thomas Cole Site and turned to the internationally beloved author and illustrator, Hudson Talbott. Hudson said he would love to create an engaging introduction to Thomas Cole for the website, and then Hudson had a thought: why stop there? He took the idea to his editor at Penguin Random House and they loved the idea too! In a flash, the first children’s book on Thomas Cole was in the works. The book, entitled “Picturing America: Thomas Cole and The Birth of American Art” and published in 2018 is the first book to bring the father of American art to young readers. Hudson and Betsy worked together to make the abbreviated digital story, available on this page for free.
The full 32-page book can be ordered in our gift shop.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Hudson River Valley Greenway. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.