Ever since I was a kid, I’ve marveled at the enormous scope and variety of children’s picture books. And even after five years in the book business, I’m still fascinated by the process of creating those little gems. Which comes first, an image or the words; how do a few vivid ideas collate to become one polished book; when did these talented creators know that they’d like to tell stories for a living and, once they knew, how did they go about making it a reality?

Now I have my chance—and so do you—to have all my burning picture book questions answered! Sunday, August 7 from 1-3 pm, we’re hosting Kids-a-Palooza! with four of Seattle’s finest children’s illustrators and authors: Suzanne Kaufman, Steven D’Amico, Matthew Porter and Wendy Wahman. Each artist will take the stage and talk a bit about or read from a selection of his or her work. After their presentations, we’ll have time for refreshments, activities, meet-and-greets and book signing. This will be a great afternoon for kids, their families, teachers, artists and all children’s book enthusiasts. Please join us!

Suzanne Kaufman is the author and illustrator of I Love Monkey, a  story about learning to love  yourself for exactly who you are! While Suzanne’s debut release is still quite new, I Love Monkey has already won a Mom’s Choice Award and a PTPA seal of approval for excellence in children’s programming. Over the years, while she’s been perfecting her awesome, retro style, Suzanne has also been busy producing special effects for Universal and Discovery, animating award-winning videogames and teaching film and animation.

Matthew Porter has been called the “king of the hipster boardbook” for good reason: it’s not just the little ones who are drooling over books like Calling all Animals and Flowers. His use of sharp black outlines and popping colors, his small creatures with their enormous, limpid eyes, his inimitable style draw the reader from page to cardboard page. Boardbooks may be small, says Library journal, “they may be short…but board books are hard and Matthew Porter consistently gets them right.”

Wendy Wahman is first and foremost an animal-lover. That’s what makes her books, A Cat Like that and Don’t Lick the Dog, so darn good. Of course, her slinky-vivacious-outrageous illustrations and jazz-jam prose make her books an absolute pleasure to read aloud and admire. Her editorial background working on projects for Henry Holt children’s publishing sure doesn’t hurt, either! So if you’re looking for a book that will help the little ones in your life care for the animals in theirs, look no further than the lovely stylings of Wendy Wahman.

Steven D’Amico may be best known for an elegant little lady elephant named Ella, but it is certainly Suki, the Very Loud Bunny who’s been turning heads this summer! Not only is Steve the co-creator of these five charming picture books, but also, (somehow!) finds the time to be the art director for Seattle-based Smashing Ideas, Inc. He’s produced illustrations and designs for PBS Kids, Nick Jr. and the Disney Channel.


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