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Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes (born November 27, 1960) is an American writer and illustrator of children's books. As an illustrator he won the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon (2004). Two of his books were Newbery Medal Honor Books, Olive's Ocean in 2004 and The Year of Billy Miller in 2014. His picture book Waiting was named both a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and a Geisel Honor Book. It was only the second time any author has won that combination of awards.


Kevin Henkes (pronounced HANK-us) thought he would be an artist until his junior year of high school, when one of his teachers encouraged him in his writing efforts. He discovered that children's books combined both his literary and artistic interests.

Henkes writes and illustrates children's picture books, many of which feature mice as their main characters. He also writes middle-grade fiction. Henkes wrote his first book during his freshman year in college. The book's theme deals with how a child describes the pleasures of occasional solitude. This theme is common in many of Henkes' later books. Henkes, one of five children, says that many of his storylines are inspired by his family and the neighborhood where he grew up in Racine, Wisconsin.

Henkes' first book, All Alone, was published in 1981 by Greenwillow Books. More than 30 books followed, including Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. In 1994 Henkes was a runner-up for one of the premier American Library Association children's book awards, the Caldecott Medal for Owen, one of his mouse books. In 2004, he was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal for Olive's Ocean. The next year he won the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon, recognizing that as the year's best children's picture book published in the U.S. All of his books to date have been published by Greenwillow Books.

Henkes won the inaugural Phoenix Picture Book Award in 2013 for Owen. The Phoenix Awards from the Children's Literature Association recognize the best books that did not win major awards when they were first published twenty years earlier. In 2014, he received a Newbery Honor for his book, The Year of Billy Miller.

Henkes and his wife, Laura Dronzek, have been collaborating on a series of picture books based on the four seasons. Henkes writes the story, while Dronzek provides the acrylic painting illustrations. The next title expected is Winter is Here.

Personal life

Henkes was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Madison with his wife, artist Laura Dronzek, and their two children.


Mouse books

  • A Weekend with Wendell (1986) — Children's Choices 1987
  • Sheila Rae, the Brave (1987)
  • Chester's Way (1988) — ALA Notable Children's Books 1988
  • Julius, the Baby of the World (1990) — ALA Notable Children's Books 1990, Booklist Editors Choice 1990
  • Chrysanthemum (1991) — Council of Wisconsin Writers Betty Ren Wright Children’s Picture Book Award
  • Owen (1994) — Caldecott Honor , Council of Wisconsin Writers Archer-Eckblad Children’s Picture Book Award , Phoenix Picture Book Award 2013
  • Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (1996)
  • Wemberly Worried — ALA Notable Children's Book 2000, Parenting Magazine — Reading Magic Award 2000, Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books 2001, School Library Journal Best Children's Books 2001
  • A Box of Treats (2004)
    • Julius' Candy Corn
    • Lilly's Chocolate Heart
    • Wemberley's Ice Cream Star
    • Owen's Marshmallow Chick — Charlotte Zolotow Commendation
    • Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick
  • Lilly's Big Day (2006) — Charlotte Zolotow Commendation
  • Penny and Her Song (2012)
  • Penny and Her Doll (2012)
  • Penny and Her Marble (2013) — Geisel Honor


External links

  • Official website
  • Caldecott Medal
  • Kevin Henkes Audio Name Pronunciation at
  • Kevin Henkes at Library of Congress Authorities, with 65 catalog records

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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