What goes into building a great picture book? Why is this one successful and that one … not? That’s what we’re here to explore – how one element of a picture book’s story or art manages to grab us or wow us or strike an emotional chord. We hope you’ll follow along and feel free to comment anytime. We are:
Kevan Atteberry is an illustrator/writer living in the Seattle area. He has designed and illustrated many things including award-winning children’s books. Among them are FRANKIE STEIN and FRANKIE STEIN STARTS SCHOOL, by Lola Schaefer, and TICKLE MONSTER and BOOGIE MONSTER, by Josie Bisset. His first authored picture book, BUNNIES!!!, came out in 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books, the follow up book, PUDDLES!!! came out in 2016. And yes, he illustrated them too. His next book, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN THE SMELL OF SWAMP GAS will be out in 2017. Up until now, Kevan’s biggest claim to fame is creating Clippy the paperclip helper in Microsoft Office which still annoys millions of people every day. Learn more here: www.kevanatteberry.com
Jill Esbaum is the author of 14 picture books. Her newest is We Love Babies! (National Geographic Kids). Others include How to Grow a Dinosaur (Dial), Frankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Teeny Tiny Toady, Elwood Bigfoot – Wanted: Birdie Friends (all from Sterling), I Hatched! (Dial), and more. Her I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! won a 2015 Crystal Kite from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and her books have been nominated for a number of state awards. She also enjoys writing a variety of nonfiction books for National Geographic Kids. Jill lives on a farm in Iowa. Learn more at www.jillesbaum.com
Pat Zietlow Miller wanted to be an author ever since a teacher read her square-dancing essay and said: “This is the first time a student paper has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!) Pat’s first book, Sophie’s Squash, was illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf and published by Schwartz & Wade. A sequel, Sophie’s Squash Go to School was released in 2016. Also out in the world are: Wherever You Go (from Little, Brown, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler); Sharing the Bread (from Schwartz & Wade, illustrated by Jill McElmurry); and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (from Chronicle, illustrated by Frank Morrison). Books in process include: My Brother, the Duck (with Chronicle); Be Kind (with Roaring Brook Press, to be illustrated by Jen Hill); Wide-Awake Bear (with HarperCollins, to be illustrated by Jean Kim); Remarkably You (with HarperCollins, to be illustrated by Patrice Barton); and Brave (with Little Brown, to be illustrated by Eliza Wheeler). Learn more at www.patzietlowmiller.com
Jennifer Black Reinhardt is an illustrator/author whose recent children’s book titles include: Playing Possum (Clarion), Gondra’s Treasure (Clarion), Sometimes You Fly (Clarion), Blue Ethel (Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG)Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs (Clarion), The Inventor’s Secret (Charlesbridge Publishing), Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons (Charlesbridge Publishing), The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Footer Davis Probably is Crazy (Simon and Schuster). Jennifer graduated with a BFA in Illustration from Carnegie Mellon University and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa. For more about Jennifer: www.jbreinhardt.com
Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist. She has sold 29 picture books to the following houses: Bloomsbury, Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling. In addition to winning awards, her books have gone on to do great things. Both Chicken Dance and Nugget & Fang have been developed into musicals. Mostly Monsterly was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program. And Your Alien was recently released in Spanish, Korean, Italian, and French which makes her feel extra fancy. When Tammi is not reading or writing, she is most likely eating out or checking her email. Learn more about Tammi and her books at www.tammisauer.com
Michelle Meadows is the author of many acclaimed books for children. Connection, compassion, and family are common themes in Michelle’s work. Michelle’s latest books are FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles and BRAVE BALLERINA: The Story of Janet Collins. Her other books include HIBERNATION STATION, PIGGIES IN PAJAMAS, and SUPER BUGS. Michelle studied journalism and literature at Syracuse University in New York. She is represented by literary agent Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio. Michelle grew up in Washington, D.C. She now lives near the beach in Delaware with her husband and son. Learn more about Michelle and her books at www.michellemeadows.com
Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of picture books The Nian Monster (Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor), Magic Ramen (Sakura Medal, Freeman Book Award Honor), and Watercress (JLG Gold Standard Selection, eight starred reviews). The Many Meanings of Meilan, her debut MG novel, publishes in August 2021. Andrea’s work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. She is also the author of seven non-fiction titles for the library and school market. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family and pandemic pup, Tupelo. Learn more about Andrea and her books at andreaywang.com.