Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May.
Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press. While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018).
Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at http://KateGarchinsky.com (aka PenguinArt.com). For project inquiries, email kategarchinsky@ gmail.
Do you know what your first word was? My Mom tells me that mine was “bird.” I don’t remember that, but I do know I wanted to be friends with the birds when I was little. To get closer, I’d climb the low branches of the red Japanese maple tree on our front lawn. I’d pretend no one could see me, and I stayed really still, hoping that just one little bird, or even a squirrel, would come close and become my friend.
Back then, I drew a lot of pictures of trees, birds, and squirrels. Sometimes I drew the weather, too—tornadoes, snow, and dark clouds heavy with rain. Snow was my favorite though. I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with being born in January, and leaving the hospital on a snowy day. The smell of the air before a snowstorm still makes me giddy. My Dad nicknamed me his “Snowbird.” It makes sense, doesn’t, it?
As the oldest of six kids, I probably learned how to change diapers and make a bottle before I could rollerskate or ride a bike. My youngest brother was born when I was 16, so when I was a teenager, I was still singing silly songs, making arts and crafts, watching Sesame Street and Disney movies over and over and over, taking walks to the playground, and reading favorite picture books again and again. I’ve never really outgrown these things. I never felt like I had to.
Now my sisters and brothers and I are all grown up,and our parents have become grandparents, but we’re all still very young at heart. We’ll recite old favorite scenes from Sesame Street and Disney, climb trees, make snowmen, and talk to animals. Yes, there are new kids and babies in the family now, but we don’t need them to make excuses to be silly. Our childhood joy connects us to one another, to nature, and to kids.
Is it any wonder that I’ve chosen to write and illustrate children’s books?
Professional Activities & Awards
2017 Starred review, School Library Journal, The Secret Life of the Red Fox
2014-2015 Legacy Lost & Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America exhibit invitation, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin
2014 The Plight of the Passenger Pigeon exhibit invitation at the John James Audubon Center, Audubon, Pennsylvania
2013 Author and illustrator, San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Interactive Storybook App
2013-2017 Scholarship recipient, The Highlights Foundation
2012 Scholarship recipient, Pocono Mountain Retreat, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Eastern Pennsylvania
2012 Art On the Town, Wilmington, Delaware
2011 September & December First Friday, The Great Frame Up, Wayne, Pennsylvania
2011 (no name) Art Group “The Art of Giving II” exhibit and fundraiser for Philabundance, B Square Gallery, Philadelphia
2010 Gold Medal for Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies, National Parenting Publication Awards
2010 Nominee, Best Children’s Music Compilation, Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies, Independent Music Awards
2010 Seal of Excellence for Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies, Creative Child Magazine
2009 Honorable Mention, Barbara Karlin Grant Competition, Time To Fly dummy
2003 (no name) Art Group, “Bookmarks” Fundraiser for First Book Philadelphia
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
–BFA in Illustration, 1997
–Thornton Oakley Medal for Excellence in Illustration, 1997
–Barbara Merton Morrison Scholarship for Fine Art, 1992