Thank you to my parents, who taught me to appreciate books and the art of writing by reading aloud to me—as a nightly ritual before sleep, during times when I was sick in bed, and sometimes on those long drives to Gaga’s house.
Thank you to my father for keeping us children well supplied with used papers from his office, on the backs of which we scribbled our first crayon masterpieces.
Thank you to my mother for writing words inside the dialog balloons that sprang from the heads of stick cowboys and horses crayoned by my sister and me. Hank and Tex: the heroes of our first authored stories.
Thank you to my elementary school teachers who allowed us students to draw and doodle quietly at our desks while they read to us aloud during rest period. (To this day I enjoy listening to audiobooks as I work on illustrations.)
Thank you to my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Ledden, who taught us the simple elements of making posters. She entered our posters in a regional contest and, to my amazement, mine won first prize.
Thank you to my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Pannis, who introduced us to poetry and made us write our own. She entered our best efforts in a state-wide contest, and I won an honorable mention.
Thank you to all the teachers for whom I assembled scrap books, book reports, and social studies projects using collected drawings, photographs and words. These hands-on activities helped me understand spacial arrangements and fundamentals of design. They got my creative juices flowing as I played with pictures, words and paper. They helped me discover the immense satisfaction of creating small multi-sensory packages, called books.