- Virginia Johnson
When David Small was, well, small, he was often sick and had to stay home from school. He would spend hours drawing and making up stories for fun to keep from being bored. He grew up in the very big city of Detroit, but he spent his summers out in the countryside with his grandparents. David was shy, but he enjoyed being with the animals on the farm, and he loved visiting museums with his parents and taking art lessons.
College was a great experience for him. David first wanted to write plays, but when a friend told him he was better at drawing than writing, he took the hint. The Art Department welcomed him, and he was happy when he found people like himself there. He went on to get a master of fine arts degree and spent years teaching drawing and printmaking to college students. He also drew political cartoons for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
David Small lost his job when his college decided to cut back on the number of teachers, so he decided to go into writing and illustrating books full-time. His books are written for kids who are like he was: a little shy and a lot different. In Imogene's Antlers, Imogene wakes up to find she has grown huge antlers on her head. Everybody is upset, except for Imogene! She finds antlers can be useful and a lot of fun. Imogene's Antlers has sold more than a million copies around the world and was featured on Reading Rainbow and Between the Lions.
David continued his silly ways in another book, George Washington's Cows. What was it that prodded the Father of our Country into leaving his farm and going off to fight the British? Maybe the cows who insisted on wearing silk clothes and the pigs who served dinner had something to do with it!
Often David will work with writers and draw pictures to match their stories. He and his wife, Sarah Stewart, have written and illustrated several books together, including The Library, the tale of a girl who has so many books she opens her own library. In 2001, his drawings earned him the highest honor in American children's illustration, the Caldecott Medal for So You Want to Be President. David and author, Judith St. George, have fun with history here, telling stories that show the presidents as ordinary people.
Even though David Small has been very successful, he wants to learn more and keep growing as an artist, trying out new styles and new ways to do art. And although his life has been very successful, he had an extremely rocky start. Mature readers may want to check out his graphic novel memoir for adults, Stitches, in which he talks about the problems and pain of his childhood.
Find other books written and/or illustrated by David Small in the library's catalog.
Read More About David Small on the Web
Caldecott Winner David Small on "So You Want to Be President"
A book review that includes quotes from the author.
Illustrator Saturday: David Small
This recent interview gives the author/illustrator's take on many of his books.
It's a David Small World
This guide for educators has a biography, recommended activities, related Web sites, quotes from David Small about his art, a listing of his work, and listings of articles about him.
National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature: David Small
Read a biography that links to a critical essay on selected works.
Parents' Choice: David Small
Includes a short biography and listing of recommended titles.