Red Cap Cards is a Los-Angeles based card company that thoughtfully curates the best of independent illustration and design. We spoke with co-founder Carrie Gifford about her background and perspective on sharing good literature and illustration with her daughter Arlo.
"Hal and I started Red Cap Cards in 2005 out of our bungalow apartment in West Hollywood. At that time I was also teaching children’s theatre at South Coast Repertory. As our company started to take off I left teaching to focus all my energy on illustrating. It wasn’t long after that I met Steven Malk. Steven brought me into the world of children’s books and if you know Steven, then you know to just close eyes and follow his lead, and I did. Once I started illustrating books I found that I had very little time to work on cards, so we began collaborating with other illustrators. This is how Red Cap Cards evolved to what it is today.
reading to our children is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them
When Arlo was born I made a conscious decision to focus my energy on her, simultaneously our card company was rapidly growing with the number of extraordinary artists that we were working with, most of whom were children’s book illustrators. In my personal opinion, these artists are some of the most talented storytellers out there. As a Mother first and foremost, I believe that reading to our children is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them. Secondly, I am a champion and fan of the artists we worked with--this all came together when we started Arlo’s Book Club. It was a perfect way to celebrate the books we love, the artists we adore, and the moments that we remember forever."
Because we know how much you love lists, we asked Carrie for her TOP 3 picture books of all time. Here are her favorites:
1. I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen. It’s so clever and holds a special place in our hearts. Jon is a beautiful person, I love the guy.
2. Go, Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman. It’s the first book that Arlo couldn’t get enough of. Our copy of this book is very loved. I don’t think we can tape it back together anymore times.
3. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I know this isn’t a picture book, but as a child my father read it to me. I would lie in bed, close my eyes and listen. It’s a fond memory filled with love and connection. To me that’s what reading to your children is all about.
When asked about her favorite illustrator, Carrie says, "It’s hard to pick a favorite illustrator, that’s like picking a favorite child, is it even possible? There is something special about all of them. If I’m talking about contemporary illustrators, then I love Carson Ellis, Emily Hughes, Julie Morstad, Jon Klassen...I mean I could go on and on. All of the illustrators that we work with are amazing. I can say that Arlo’s favorites are Christian Robinson and Mo Willems. We can’t go to bed without reading an Elephant and Piggie book and Arlo has a sweet spot for Christian. He gave her a magical crystal that she keeps by her bed and magic is pretty powerful stuff."