She was born in the Soviet Union where everything, including books, was difficult to get hold of and everything American was simply forbidden. Thus, she is now living her second childhood surrounded by beautiful and meaningful books.
If she could, today she would hug her parents, from whom she is separated by the pandemic, her husband and sons, and maybe Kate DiCamillo who wrote “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”.
Rita is an author truly passionate about picture books. So much so that in a storybook world she would live precisely inside of books, snuggling in their pages at night, and living incredible adventures everyday.
When she creates a book, her main purpose is not to transform the child, but the adult who over the years has been forgetting "his child" and carrying prejudices and forgetting what really matters.
If she could, today she would hug her maternal grandmother, whom she wishes she had known better.
Catherine is a woman with a green heart, an inspiring ecologist turned into a children’s books author.
When she looked for a narrative about evolution - rather than a textbook - to engage her own two girls in that extraordinary true story, she couldn’t find any. That’s why she teamed up with Steve Williams to create the series “The Story of Life”.
She writes to inspire children to realise that being curious about the world around them is the first step in having a positive impact on the natural world.
If she could, today she would hug her two daughters, who, as she writes, are meeting up together in London and hopefully giving each other a big hug.
Maria Pereira dos Santos
Maria is the voice behind the hilarious Instagram account @mikasps, where she tells us about her adventures with her big family of little people. Standing still tires her out, so she is always "on the go".
She grew up in a household where money was managed cautiously but never lacked for books. Adding to this the absence of television, Maria grew up reading: books helped her to travel, to learn more and to get closer to those who told her the stories.
If she could, today Maria - who is not that keen on hugs - would embrace her grandparents.
Ilan has published more than 80 children’s books. Those books have travelled th world, just like his family: his grandparents were born in Russian and Poland, his parents were born in Argentina and he was born in Israel, though he spend most of his life in Brazil.
Ilan’s life was changed by a child who couldn’t make sense of something llan told her. He said he didn’t know how to tell a story. Surprised, she stated: If you don’t know, make it up!
If he could, today Ilan would hug his father and mother.
Kobi is the heart behind “Maybe” and quite a few other amazing books.
Like everyone else, he has doubts and fears that, at times, held him back from pursuing his passions. But he believes in his ideas and his dreams more than he fears his fears so each day he steps out into the unknown hoping for a great adventure.
He believes his books are incomplete without the reader. They are the ones who bring their own hopes and dreams to the book and it is this combination that makes them come alive.
If he could, today he would hug his father, who he lost him several years ago and still misses dearly.
Vera is a mother who wakes up very early, every day. In the morning she is a radio host and in the afternoon she is an active, sporty and very playful mum.
Francisca, a sensitive, curious and very funny girl, and Henrique, a physical and emotional hurricane, are her offspring. When they like a book, they always want to hear the same story.
She would like books to make them get to know the world, to open the doors of curiosity to travel, to experiment, to question.
If she could, today she would hug her grandmother.
Dulce is a woman from up North, a full-time mother and a children's rights activist. Her world changed when Sara was born and she found out that babies are so much more complex than we are led to believe.
Fascinated by the Pikler-Lóczy approach, she has been an important voice in spreading the knowledge that she has kept gaining over time.
If she could, today she would embrace Devendra Banhart, whom she has been following for almost 20 years.
Catarina is an Early Childhood Educator who is passionate about her professional career! She thrives on utopian dreams of justice, kindness and sustainability, and that’s what moves her: the possibility of sowing those seeds in every child that crosses her way.
Stories have been a huge part of her life ever since her father took her on daily journeys of discovery through picture books. Now she does the same for the children under her care: she builds a world of wonder and amazement that they do not want to leave.
If she could, today she would hug her paternal grandmother, whom she misses dearly.
Rosie is the hand behind "It Isn't Rude To Be Nude!", an amazing book that celebrates human diversity in all its shapes, colours and ways.
As a child, she loved to draw so much that for most birthdays and christmases she was given a large box with paper. Rosie always loved picture books, as did her mum, who bought her beautiful ones when she was a child (and still does).
Through humour, humility and simple language she does her best to reach people, never forgetting how it was to be a child.
If she could, today Rosie would hug her grandma who is no longer with us.
Sofia is the driving engine behind START. SOCIAL and many creative projects dedicated to children. She’s a true force of nature, one that shines with ideas, dreams and joy.
Illustrations are what help her choose a book. Then, the journey is about letting the book’s inner life flow while discovering what story it has to tell.
Even if she does it every single day, if given the chance to hug someone, Sofia would embrace her daughter.
Felicita is the heart behind the endearing illustrations in “Green on Green” and “The Hideout”, among other picture books. As a young girl, she lived with her head in the clouds. Her teachers would get upset and try to get her to come down to earth and pay attention, but then one day her head got stuck in a really big cloud and she floated away.
Felicita learned to illustrate by observing and practicing on her own and never imagined she would one day do it as a full time job. She feels honoured for the gift of narrating stories through pictures.
If she could, today she would hug her parents and siblings whom she hasn’t seen in two years because of the pandemic.
Hervé has presented us with amazing interactive books, such as “Let’s Play!”. He was once a little boy who didn't speak too much, but who looked a lot with his eyes. Hervé found out that many artists had a lot of fun that way and wanted to try it too.
By going to schools, leisure centers and hospitals he discovered that books have a meaning and that the more creative they were, the more horizons they opened up.
If he could, today he would hug Miles Davis.
Jacqueline is the hand behind the beautiful illustrations in “Freedom Soup”. She has been working to promote inclusiveness and diversity in children’s literature and the illustration field, pursuing projects that feature a diverse main character.
As a child she was extremely active - playing outside, dancing, doing gymnastics. As a matter of fact, she still is, fueled by dance music, carbs and coffee!
When she illustrates, one of her goals is to create a stronger sense of curiosity about the world.
If she could, today she would hug her two nephews - Rohan and Benji.
Jo comes from a family of artists and musicians. As a child, she used to love writing stories as well as drawing and painting the animals she found in her books on the natural world. Actually, these are still her favourite things to do.
She developed her love of children’s books when she became a mum, but it was not until they grew older that she could pursue this passion professionally.
If she could, today she would hug her three older children, who live away from her.
Nani is a kidult who had a very happy and loud childhood back in São Paulo, surrounded by her huge family. She has lived in many different places, which accounts for an even more extended family - of friends - all across the globe.
Before working as an illustrator she was already collecting picture books. This made it more special to have the chance to create one. “A Discórdia” is the result of her path across so many countries struck by political divisions - a beautiful visual narrative of how different opinions can be shaped to unite us, instead of divide us.
If she could, she'd love to have some very looong arms to hug her whole family back in Brazil all at once!
Nic e Inês
In the beginning of their journey they fell in love with the Artist’s Book and unconventional shapes, such as the accordion book, carousel, flip-book, infinity, Eastern countries’ bindings and many others. These unusual and beautiful shapes can be a way to encourage new readers to approach learn to love reading and the world of books.
Through this love of paper and reading they realised that illustrated albums and children's books are also in a way Artist’s Books and authentic masterpieces that are easily accessible and very democratic because they reach more people. That’s how they ended up creating their own illustrated and children's books.
If they could, today they would hug Aida - their soon to be born baby daughter.
Vera has been passionate about children’s literature ever since she was a child, a time when she dreamed about being able to read. Just like her, Henrique, a lively and affectionate boy, loves books of all kinds. His baby sister Eva follows his lead and already enjoys being read to.
As what happened with her, Vera would like books to represent an open door to knowledge, freedom, imagination and creation in her children’s lives.
If she could, today Vera would undoubtedly hug her brother, whom she misses dearly.