Home » About
About Anne Rockwell

Anne RockwellI was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1934 but spent much of my childhood traveling throughout the United States. From the farmlands of northern Mississippi where my grandparents lived, to the magnificent landscape of the American Southwest, I learned to look, the most important skill an artist can develop. People used to say I was born reading. I can’t remember when I learned to draw and paint but I never dreamed of becoming anything but an artist.

By the time I was 18 I was living on my own in New York City, working and attending art classes at night, and learning from masters in museums. In 1955 I married Harlow Rockwell, an advertising art director and illustrator. When our daughter Hannah was born in 1958, I bought picture books. Sharing the joy of reading with her was one of the greatest pleasures I’ve ever had. I was sure that creating books for children was what I was meant to do. By some strange miracle, the first publisher who saw it published my first effort, "Paul and Arthur Search for the Egg" (Doubleday 1964).

By 1966 we had two more children, Elizabeth (Lizzy), and Oliver. I was fascinated by the different ways individual babies used their developing language to make sense of the world, and the way books helped them find their way. I think I learned as much about making books for young children by reading to our three as was possible.

We soon needed more space and moved to Old Greenwich, Connecticut, a community on the shore of Long Island Sound, where we could walk and sail and sketch by the beach, feed birds, have a garden and a dog. I was gaining confidence as a writer. Some books I wanted to write struck me as suited to my husband’s style of artwork, particularly those having to do with the real world, which he was able to present with simplicity, grace and charm, as well as uncanny accuracy. By 1977 we were collaborating on books full time.

After he died in 1988 our daughter Lizzy illustrated a picture book I’d written for him, "Apples and Pumpkins." This book has become a classic, enjoyed in homes, schoolrooms and library story hours as soon as there’s a nip of fall in the air. Since its publication Lizzy and I have done 14 books together, with more in the works! Leonard Marcus, that fine historian of children’s books has done a chapter on us in his book, "Pass It Down."

My own illustration style continues to evolve. Two of my recent picture books are "Here Comes the Night," and "My Preschool." For these books I wanted the soft and painterly effects you get with monoprints. My granddaughter Julianna, who is a wonderful painter, helped me with the printing.

It’s thrilling to see these gifts continuing through generations of the family!