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Monday, November 27, 2017

Inspired by Everyday Life

“I think writers are observers and watchers. We always have our ears open and eyes open, so I might see something in everyday life that inspires me. And I think that's probably more than anything else. Everyday life is where I get my inspiration.” – Kevin Henkes

Born on this date in 1960, Henkes is both writer and illustrator of children's books.  As illustrator, he won the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon and Waiting, which also won the coveted Geisel Honor Book award – only the second time in history that a book has won both awards.  As writer, his books Olive's Ocean and The Year of Billy Miller won the Newbery.

A native of Racine, Wis., he has been writing and illustrating children’s books for 30 years. “It’s the only real job I’ve ever had.”        Growing up as an avid reader, he said library trips were a family ritual and one he highly recommends.  He started writing as a teenager and his first picture book was accepted for publication when he was just 19 and an art major at the University of Wisconsin. 

For writers thinking about children’s books, he said, “You don't need to have kids to write a good book for kids. I don't want my kids to see themselves in my books. Their lives should be their lives. “

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