Karen Deans writes about inspiring people who do what they love and never stop, no matter what. Her two picture books are about some remarkable women in history: Playing to Win: The story of Althea Gibson, and Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Both are illustrated with pizzazz by two super illustrators, Elbrite Brown and Joe Cepeda.
Deans was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and always wanted to grow up to become a writer. Meanwhile, she played a lot of tennis with her older brother, read a lot of books with her younger sister, and spent a lot of time drawing and writing stories, and then turning them into little books with glue and tape. She loved reading the Madeline books, which inspired her college study in Paris, as well as any book by Richard Scarry or Beverly Cleary. (Yes, she named her cats Beezus and Ramona.) Currently she’s a big fan of graphic novels, like Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.
She wrote her first children’s book after going to the library with her youngest daughter Maisy when she was in first grade. They were looking for a biography about the tennis champion Althea Gibson. They came up empty handed, because a book didn’t exist, so she set about writing one. She enjoys researching interesting people and learning about what makes them tick. It’s fun to make connections between the time period, the place and the special relationships that help build a person’s character. Everyone has a unique story! Deans is also a painter and is currently developing some illustrations for a children’s book manuscript which she has also written.
Deans believes the Noyes Library is a very special place. Aside from being the most inviting little cottage one could ever happen upon (like a fairy tale!), it is also a haven for young lives, a place to begin endless adventures and cultivate a lifelong respect for this magnificent institution. Long live libraries!
by Beth Meyer for the February/March 2016 MAKE MORE NOYES COMMUNITY UPDATE
(getting to know our local authors and illustrators)