Janet Stevens began drawing as a child, and her pictures decorated her school work–including math assignments. While this didn’t always sit well with her teachers, it was what she liked to do. After graduating from high school in Hawaii, she landed a job painting Hawaiian designs for fabric. The material was then mad into aloha shirts and muumuus.
After she graduated from the University of Colorado in Fine Arts, Janet began compiling a portfolio of “characters”, bears in tutus, rhinos in sneakers, and walruses in Hawaiian shirts. In 1977, she attended “The Illustrator’s Workshop” in New York City where it was suggested that her characters might find a home in a children’s book. Luckily for libraries (and children’s book readers in general), publishers agreed and her first book was published in 1979.
Best known for her trademark quirky animals in books by such authors as Eric Kimmel and Coleen Salley, Janet is also the author and illustrator of many original stories and frequently collaborates with her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel.
Janet has receive numerous book awards including a Caldecott Honor Award, a Texas Bluebonnet Award and the Wanda Gagg Best Read-Aloud Book.
Her books have been named ALA Notables and have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller lists. She is particularly proud of her state children’s book awards, voted on by children–from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.