Children’s Book Author
You Know Him From:You might have read “Kitten’s First Full Moon” to your children.
Did You Know?:Kevin Henkes (pronounced HANK-us) was born on November 27, 1960 in Racine and is an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. He won the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing his first published work, “Kitten’s First Full Moon” (2004). As a writer he has been a runner-up for the companion Newbery Medal.
Kevin Henkes thought he would be an artist until his junior year of high school, when one of his teachers encouraged him in his writing efforts. He discovered that children’s books combined both his literary and artistic interests.
Henkes is author and illustrator of children’s picturebooks, many of which feature mice as their main characters. He also writes young-adult fiction. Henkes wrote his first book during his freshman year in college. The book’s theme deals with how a child describes the pleasures of occasional solitude. This theme is common in many of Henkes’ later books. Henkes, one of five children, says that many of his storylines are inspired by his family and the neighborhood where he grew up in Racine, Wisconsin.
Henkes’ first book, “All Alone,” was published in 1981 by Greenwillow Books. More than 30 books followed, including “Chrysanthemum” and “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.” Henkes won the 2004 Newbery Honor for “Olive’s Ocean,” a 1994 Caldecott Honor for Owen, and a 2005 Caldecott Medal for “Kitten’s First Full Moon.” All of his books to date have been published by Greenwillow Books.
He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently resides in Madison with his wife, artist Laura Dronzek and their two children.