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Marilyn Janovitz

Brief Bio

Marilyn Janovitz is a children's book author/illustrator with numerous books to her credit, many of which have been translated and distributed worldwide. Marilyn's publishing partners include Holiday House, NorthSouth Books, Chronicle, Hyperion, Sourcebooks, and Bloomsbury. She lives in New York City near Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, two of her favorite places to spend time.

Full Bio

Marilyn Janovitz has been working in the children's book field since the 1980s. She started as an illustrator for mass market school publications (readers and workbooks) and eventually graduated to illustrating for trade books. America's First Elephant by Robert McClung was Marilyn's first picture book. It was published in 1991 by William Morrow Publishers. When her editor at Morrow moved to Hyperion, they worked on a series of four nursery rhymes, and she was asked to illustrate Miriam Schlein's picture book Just Like Me.

At about that time Marilyn enrolled in a series of courses given at the School of Visual Arts by Bruce Degen, well known for his Magic School Bus series. The courses focused on writing and creating books for children.

In 1994, Marilyn was awarded her first picture book contract with NorthSouth Books. Look Out, Bird!, a circular chain reaction story, was the first picture book she both wrote and illustrated. Look Out, Bird! was the start of a successful relationship with NorthSouth that lasted years. Because NorthSouth is an international publisher, Marilyn's books soon were being translated into many languages—even the books written in rhyme!

While creating new characters and stories, Marilyn continued to pursue illustration work and found a new market outside children's books in advertising, editorial illustration, and graphic design such as textiles. She worked with different illustration mediums also—in assemblage, for example, she built three-dimensional imagery that was photographed and then used in print. Her clients included the New York Times, Forbes, the Village Voice, and the Wall Street Journal.

Children's books, however—creating stories children can see themselves in—will always be Marilyn's primary interest. The most recent books she has written are part of the Holiday House I Like to Read series, "which instill confidence and the joy of reading in new readers."