This exhibition celebrating the centenary of the Italian-born and trained artist's birth was on display in the Cotsen gallery August 2008–February 2009. For a calendar of the centenary's events, visit the official Leo Politi webpage. The level of participation across the state of California suggests what deep affection Leo Politi (1908-1996) still inspires as a pioneering creator of multi-cultural picture books about children in Los Angeles' Mexican, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese communities. Politi, a passionate historic preservationist, also lovingly portrayed the downtown neighborhoods these children called home before the freeways came through.
Contemporary children's book author and Los Angeles native Elisa
Kleven praises Leo Politi for bringing "wonder, joy, and a respect
for my city…to my childhood. I remember pouring through the illustrations
for hours, and wondering about the artist behind the beautiful pictures
and gentle stories, the dramatic compositions and exquisite, singing