Lynne Rae Perkins


Lynne Rae Perkins


I studied art at Penn State University and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After that I framed pictures, taught drawing and watercolor classes, worked as a cashier and at the deli of a natural foods grocery store, waitressed at a jazz club, worked for a model railroad company. I moved to Boston and worked as a graphic designer. I met my husband, Bill, and he whisked me away from Boston to Michigan where we grew Christmas trees and lived in a tiny cabin on a hillside. As time went by, we had children and the cabin grew into a house. All the while, I drew and painted. I had always loved to read, but I never really thought about writing books myself until the day in 1993 when I showed my illustration portfolio to Mrs. Ava Weiss, who was the art director of Greenwillow Books. She liked my drawings, and asked if I was a writer. I found out later that she always asked this question when reviewing portfolios, but I didn’t know that. I thought she had spotted some hidden writerly quality in me that no one else had ever noticed. I went home and worked out a little story that I had been thinking up, just for the sake of a subject for my drawings. I typed the story up and sent it to Greenwillow Books. It was called Home Lovely.

They published it. I illustrated it. And that is what I am still doing: writing stories and illustrating them. I have written and illustrated half a dozen picture books as well as three novels for older readers. In 2006, I was honored to be awarded the Newbery Medal for the novel Criss Cross.

My husband Bill makes beautiful furniture from twigs and bark. Our children are practically grown up by now. We moved a while ago from our hillside house into a small town on an inlet of Lake Michigan.

What happens next? More writing and drawing, I hope. Maybe some adventures. I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a link to a video of a 2014 interview with me, arranged, filmed, and edited by Vanessa Walstra and Heather Wood-Gramza of Kent District Library in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.