Janet Stevens, a nationally known, award-winning illustrator, is often asked how she learned to draw so well. She answers, “Lots and lots of practice! I’ve always loved to draw, and I’ve worked hard at it. I draw and redraw characters. Believe me, I don’t always like the way it turns out. ”
The youngest of three children, Janet was born in Dallas, Texas, but moved many times as a child. Now she lives in Colorado with Mamacita, her dog rescued from Bacalar, Mexico. She has two children, Lindsey and Blake. Lindsey is a veterinarian in Colorado, and Blake is an actor, mime and juggler in New York. She also recently welcomed a new member of the family, Lindsey's daughter Margot.
She has made writing a family affair; many of Janet’s recent books have been written with her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel, a former math teacher. These works include My Big Dog, Cook-A-Doodle-Doo, The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon, the New York Times bestseller The Great Fuzz Frenzy and recent hit The Little Red Pen.
Her books have won numerous awards. And the Dish Ran Away With The Spoon was an ALA Notable Book, a NY Public Library 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing, Child Magazine’s Best Books for 2001, and a Children’s Book of the Month Selection. Janet and Susie describe what happens when the Dish runs away with the Spoon and they don’t return!
To Market, To Market was an ALA Notable Book, a Golden Kite Honor Book, and an American Bookseller’s Book of the Year Honor Book. This story, which takes place in a local Boulder, Colorado market and in Janet’s kitchen, turns the traditional rhyme into a chaotic series of shopping experiences for a frazzled shopper and her animal friends. Coleen Salley -- the inspiration for the “shopper” character in To Market, To Market, retells a favorite southern tale in Epossumondas, Instead of a human baby, however, she has a possum.
Tops and Bottoms won a Caldecott Honor and the first Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award. Janet retells how an industrious Rabbit outsmarts a lazy Bear. The innovative format of the book, opening top-to-bottom, makes it great for reading aloud. She loves drawing animals in human situations. In From Pictures to Words: A Book About Making a Book, she uses animal characters to describe the creative process of making books from a collection of ideas. It is an excellent guide for those interested in creating stories and a favorite of young and old(er) alike who make books.
Janet is particularly proud of her awards voted on by children, “her” audience. Her books have been nominated for and have won many state children’s book awards, including Colorado, Maryland, Montana, Washington, Utah, and the Texas Bluebonnet Award