Focus on the Illustrator: Rachel Isadora

Until I started my children’s information resources class this term, I had not heard of Rachel Isadora and that is a shame. She is an amazing author and illustrator and I am now completely in love with her work. She is the author or illustrator of over 58 different books and each bears her unique style of illustration. Many characters look like they have been carved out of wood, though her style changes based on the story, which is what makes her work so endearing. The illustrations are as much a part of the story being told as the text.

Isadora started out as a dancer, but was sidelined by a foot injury. Though no longer an active dancer, her background appears from time to time in books like On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC and Lili at Ballet. She is also a mother and has written some beautiful picture books using predictive text that young readers will love, like Uh-Oh!, Peekaboo Morning, and Peekaboo Bedtime.

My favorites so far have been her African adaptations of traditional European folktales. She weaves in vocabulary from African languages seamlessly and the stories, while still reminiscent of their source material, take on new life. Check out her new classics that I loved:

I hope to see much more work out of Isadora in the future, which is not hard to imagine because she has been quoted as saying

“Because ballet is so demanding, dancers’ stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it’s the only work that compares in intensity and joy.”


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