This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.
Sometimes artists paint just because they want to. Bill Traylor was one of those artists. In It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, author Don Tate takes a historical look at one of the foremost self-taught artists in America – in fact, Traylor was a former slave turned artist – and weaves it into an entertaining story. But this story is more than a festive tale — it invites children into a world of cotton picking, the Civil War and Traylor’s struggles as an emancipated slave. The picture book uses brightly colorful illustrations by R. Gregory Christie to depict the story of Bill Traylor; the illustrations pay homage to Traylor’s work, capturing the rustic simplicity for which he was known. It Jes’ Happened is a cultural treasure, an imaginative union of art and writing that is suitable for children aged six and older. Christie has illustrated more than 25 children’s books, two of which have achieved the New York Times’ 10 Best-Illustrated Children’s Books Award. He is a three-time recipient of a Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration. Christie’s illustrations in the children’s book Yesterday I Had the Blues was featured on PBS’ television show, Between the Lions. His work has been published in The New Yorker, Vibe, Rolling Stone, Parenting, and many more.