About: Barbara Helen Berger grew up loving to draw and paint. She studied Art at the University of Washington in Seattle, her home town, where she earned a BFA degree in Painting. During her five years of study, she also went to Yale Summer School of Music & Art, and to Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. In Italy she saw the art she had loved from childhood, seen in her father's art books at home.
For ten years after college, she worked as a painter with gallery shows in Seattle. Then beginning in 1980 she turned her focus to children's books. She says, “All along, I loved writing too. My secret wish was to bring art and words together in my own books.”
Her first was Animalia, inspired by illuminated manuscripts (Celestial Arts, 1982, re-issued by Tricycle Press, 1999). Then she went on to create the picture books she is known for, including Grandfather Twilight, considered a bedtime classic, The Donkey's Dream, and A Lot of Otters, (all from Philomel Books). She also wrote and illustrated Gwinna, a fairytale in chapters (Philomel, 1990). In All the Way to Lhasa: a Tale from Tibet, she blended her style with the influence of Tibetan art (Philomel, 2002). And in Thunder Bunny, her newest book, she blends her style with the medium of collage (Philomel, 2007).
Berger's books have won awards for both the art and writing: the Golden Kite Award for Picture-Illustration, Parents' Choice Foundation Award for Illustration, the Children's Book Award from Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and twice a Washington State Governor's Writers Award. Original paintings from her books have been exhibited around the country. She says, “From beginning to end, the process of creating is still my biggest joy.”
Ms. Berger lives on Bainbridge Island, in the Pacific Northwest. She received the honor of an Island Treasure Award in 2006 from the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.
SOME OF Barbara Helen Berger WORKS: