Children's Book Authors with RI Connections


Rhode Island has an incredibly rich arts culture and many local children's book authors find their home or inspiration in Rhode Island. This week, we are sharing about four female children's book authors who have lived, studied in or drawn inspiration from Rhode Island. Oge Mora, Gaia Cornwall, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and Phoebe Wahl. These four authors and illustrators are not only connected to the ocean state, but are incredibly talented with unique voices. We hope you will take the time to seek out their work!


Oge Mora:

From her website:

"Oge Mora is a collage artist and storyteller. Her picture book, Thank You, Omu!, was a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner, and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award recipient. Her second book, Saturday won the 2020 Boston Globe—Horn Book Picture Book Award. Oge’s artwork has been applauded by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe. Oge grew up in Columbus, Ohio but resides in Providence, RI. She is a fan of all things colorful, patterned, or collaged, and enjoys creating warm stories that celebrate people coming together."

Books Are Wings recommends Thank You, Omu! and The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read.


Gaia Cornwall:

From her website:

"Gaia wrote and illustrated a picture book published by Candlewick Press called Jabari Jumps all about dealing with fear, and what it means to be brave! It’s companion book, Jabari Tries, just came out! Its all about being a Maker, persistence, team work and how-to-keep-your-cool-when-things-don’t-go-your-way! Most of Gaia's pieces start with good ol’ pencil and paper, and are then finished digitally. Her work has been featured online, in interactive games, on assorted products, in films, as murals, and in various forms of print. She used to reside in Providence, RI, but now calls neighboring state Connecticut home."

Books Are Wings recommends Jabari Tries and Jabari Jumps.


Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie:

From her website:

"Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is the author of the award-winning children’s book Layla’s Happiness. Her work for adults includes Strut, Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation, and Karma’s Footsteps (Flipped Eye Publishing). Tallie is the subject of the short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere.” Ekere creates cinepoems with her husband and self-care posters and healing herbal potions with her daughters. She has a long-quiet blog The Sage Honey that she looks forward to updating soon. Ekere is a (very) proud New Yorker currently living in the lovely state of Rhode Island where she is a Ph.D. student at Brown University."

Books Are Wings recommends Layla's Happiness and Strut (for ages 15+)


Phoebe Wahl:

From her website:

"Phoebe Wahl is an award-winning children’s book author, illustrator, and surface designer whose work focuses on themes of comfort, nostalgia, and intimacy with nature and one another. She grew up unschooled in Washington state and credits her free-range childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and values.Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 with a BFA in illustration. Her first children’s book, Sonya’s Chickens (Tundra), was the recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator, and her most recent book, The Blue House (Knopf/Tundra) was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and NPR. Phoebe lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she has a small retail shop and occasionally teaches illustration at Western Washington University. When she isn't drawing, she can be found sewing, cooking, gardening, or cuddling her two rambunctious cats."

Books Are Wings recommends Sonya's Chickens and Little Witch Hazel.


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