ABILENE, TX – Award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce says it feels like Christmas this week.
That’s because the City of Abilene just installed the honorary street sign “Santa Calls Lane” at Cedar and North 1st named after his 1993 book, “Santa Calls.” The book was set on a fictional Abilene ranch, and it started the city on a very real journey to becoming the Storybook Capital of Texas and America. The book led to the establishment of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, followed by the Storybook Sculpture Project and the annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival.
“Bill Joyce is a founder of the NCCIL and has been a wonderful supporter of the storybook sculptures and Storybook Capital theme from the beginning,” said Lynn Barnett, executive director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. “’Childhood’s Great Adventure’ based on his book ‘Santa Calls’ was our first storybook sculpture, so it seemed only natural to honor him.”
After seeing the new signage, Joyce commented on social media that “today is Christmas for me.”
The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council is the designated arts council for the city. The council, in partnership with the NCCIL, approached the City of Abilene several months ago about the possibility of adding honorary streets signs downtown. The City Council approved the idea, and new signage was designed with the Storybook Capital of America logo. “Santa Calls Lane” was installed at the intersection just outside the NCCIL, and “Storybook Way” was added at Cypress Street intersections.
“Santa Calls Lane” extends down Cedar from N. 1st to North 3rd streets. “Storybook Way” extends down Cypress Street from N. 1st to N. 6th Street.
Barnett said the permanent signage will enhance the city’s reputation as the Storybook Capital of America.
“We want visitors to see the signs and be swept up in their own storybook adventure,” she said.