Gail Gibbons has written more than 120 books and has been called a “master of picture book nonfiction” by Booklist. The Washington Post has said “Gail Gibbons has taught more preschoolers and early readers about the world than any other children’s writer-illustrator.” In recognition of her “distinguished contribution to children’s literature,” Gail was awarded the Regina Medal Award. She is also the recipient of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC Nonfiction Book Award, then cosponsored by The Washington Post, that honors “an author or author-illustrator whose total work has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children.”
Gail’s informational books cover a vast range of topics and have received innumerable awards and honors that range from American Library Association Notable Children’s Books to National Science Teachers Association-Children’s Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children to International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council (IRA-CBC) Children’s Choice Books, beloved by young readers across the country. She has even received a Certificate of Appreciation from the U. S. Postmaster General!
Gail Gibbons’s books are particularly accurate because she goes right to the source when researching a topic. She has been on the seventeenth floor of a skyscraper in progress, has spoken with truck drivers about the workings of their rigs, has dismantled every clock in her home, and would have donned scuba diving gear to research a sunken ship had the sea waters not been too turbulent. Gail says “I had a lot of ‘whys’ when I was a child. I guess I still do.”
“I love working with bright, bold, beautiful colors. I also have a real love for nonfiction writing and am happy that my work lets me delve deeply into so many different kinds of topics. To me, putting a nonfiction book together is like watching the pieces of a puzzle finally fitting together. Bit by bit the book takes form. I really enjoy learning about things and introducing them to children in words and pictures.
“First I must have an idea that really interests me. Then I do some writing. I always find an expert on the topic I am writing about to make certain that what I have written is accurate. I work with my editors on the text until it is as good as it can possibly be. Then I do rough sketches for the cover and the pages.
“Once I have discussed everything with my editors and the art director we decide what changes I should make. Then I do the finished artwork. Once I have finished the artwork I send it to the publisher to have it all printed and bound into books.”
Gail Gibbons grew up writing stories and drawing pictures to fit the words, and wishing she lived in the country. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a bachelor of fine arts degree, she became involved in television graphics. This led her to work on a children’s TV show, where her desire to write and illustrate children’s books was rekindled. Eventually Gail became a full-time writer and moved to rural Vermont.
Gail and her husband, Kent Ancliffe, live in Vermont in a passive solar house that he built and on an island off the coast of Maine.
Visit GailGibbonsBooks.com for educational materials including the “Explore the World of Science with Gail Gibbons Educators’ Guide” plus a complete listing of Holiday House books. For more photos, stories, and information about Gail, visit her personal website at gailgibbons.com.