Author & Illustrator

Julie Fortenberry

I have an MFA from Hunter College. My abstract paintings have been in the Whitney Museum of American Art. But for the last decade I’ve been writing and painting for kids. I enjoy the honest responses I get from preschoolers and kindergarteners. Recently, I stumbled on a youtube of a kindergartener reading Lily’s Cat Mask. She read it with so much feeling. She even changed her voice to fit each character. That’s about as good as it gets.

Julie Fortenberry Website
Most Recent Book
Pirate Boy book


Do you have any upcoming books you can tell us about?

Yes! I have a picture book coming out in the spring of 2020 from Candlewick. It's the story of a little dancer. She's leaving her mother's dance class (and her mother's side) to start preschool. Title coming. Watch this space!

Tell us about your process for creating a children's book from start to finish?

The drawings frequently come before the words. My ideas can start with a drawing of a character -- someone who seems to have his or her own story.

How did you go about developing your personal style?

I look at tons of art. In 2006 my friend, artist Shelley Davies and I started the blog, Children's Illustration. It has since morphed into a fb page -- Looking at other artist's work inspires me to experiment with techniques and styles. My work is looser these days. I'm enjoying the sketchy quality of it. It looks less labored, but in truth I often go back and tweak my compositions, and in some cases I scrap the whole thing and start over.

board Books

pirates · love · parents · imagination
Pirate Boy

picture Books

Lily's Cat Mask book
self-esteem · shyness · bravery · starting school · facing fears · making friends
Lily's Cat Mask


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