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Authors & Illustrators

Biographical information about writers and illustrators of books for young people.

Judith Kerr (1923-2019)

Author/illustrator Judith Kerr has passed away at the age of ninety-five. Kerr’s first book was the picture-book classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She is also the creator of a long-running series about Mog, the Forgetful Cat; and more recently Mister Cleghorn’s Seal, The Crocodile Under the Bed, One Night in the Zoo, and […]

Lift Every Voice: My Own Origin Story

Growing up, I always loved magic. It was exciting, because I was a curious kid who devoted a good deal of brainpower to figuring out the whys of the world. This love of magic eventually manifested in a love of science — and with it science fiction — which permeated the cartoons I watched and […]

Lift Every Voice: Words and Music

Because I was running away from anything that required being in the public eye, I am sure that any early motivation to be a writer was deeply buried in my subconscious and lay there, unrecognized, for many years. Writing this article has sent me back to pull those memories together and analyze them. So, where […]

Summer Reading 2019: Five Questions for Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

Author Isabel Quintero and illustrator Zeke Peña previously collaborated on 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award–winning graphic novel Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty, 12 years and up). Now, in the summer-perfect picture book My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Kokila/Penguin, 5–8 years; concurrently published in Spanish as Mi papi tiene una moto), they go […]

Lift Every Voice: Walking My Own Path

I was used to getting red-ink marks in the margins of my school essays until I met my high school English teacher, Linda Christensen. For our final projects, Ms. Christensen would write two-page letters with praise and feedback about revisions. I had never had a teacher be so thoughtful and intentional with my writing. I […]

Lift Every Voice: The Greatest Review I’ll Ever Get

Memory is a very inexact and unreliable process, and it’s tricky to try to point to one event in our past and say it was somehow life-changing. That said, if the question is: what set me on the road to becoming an author? I have a memory that is as clear and singular as if […]

“Why is everything so Spanish in here?”

…to celebrate Día, children! El día de los niños / El día de los libros is a nationwide celebration that “emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.” For the second year in a row, I visited the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library, in Jamaica Plain, to see one […]

Lift Every Voice: A Matter of Choice

Though many things in life are set to autopilot, we thrive when we are choosing. I made the choice to be an artist when I was around seven and realized I could copy Fred Flintstone pretty accurately. It was a spark of magic that I wanted more of. As an only child, I was able […]

What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka? — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

The voice flew across the room and nailed me to the back of my seat. “What’s so funny, Mr. Scieszka?” The voice belonged to Sister Margaret Ann. And it had just flown across our fifth-grade religion class at St. Luke’s Elementary School to find me in what I had thought was the safety of the […]

Lift Every Voice: From One Book to Many

When I was in sixth grade, my elementary school hired a new librarian. I don’t remember her name. I only know that she was young, white, and had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. This new librarian taught us African songs and dances, and would then put on music so we could show off […]