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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

'Observers and Watchers'

“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 . . . where I get my inspiration.” – Kevin Henkes

The author/illustrator of nearly 50 books, Henkes was born in Racine, WI, on this date in 1960.  Only the second person to win both the Caldecott and Geisel Awards (for his book Waiting) in the same year (2016), he has a basketfull of prizes for the more than 40 books he has produced.  Henkes also won a Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon, and Newbery Medals for both Olive's Ocean and The Year of Billy Miller.   

“You don't need to have kids to write a good book for kids,” Henkes said.  “Like I said, ‘everyday life’ is my inspiration.” 
                                              Henkes (pronounced HANK-us) thought he would be an artist until his junior year of high school when one of his teachers encouraged his writing efforts.   Children's books have been a perfect combination for him to showcase both his literary and artistic interests.

“I usually know where I want to end up when I begin, but I have no idea how I'm going to get there... I don't write with an outline, and surprises happen on the way, and sometimes it changes.”

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