Henkes, Kevin

views updated

Kevin Henkes


Born November 27, 1960, in Racine, WI; son of Bernard E. and Beatrice (Sieger) Henkes; married Laura Dronzek (an artist), May 18, 1985; children: a son. Education: Attended University of Wisconsin—Madison.


Home—Madison, WI. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Greenwillow Books, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.


Writer and illustrator.

Awards, Honors

Children's Choice Book selection, Children's Book Council/International Reading Association, 1986, both for A Weekend with Wendell; Best Books of the Year citation, Library of Congress, 1988, for Once Around the Block; notable book citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1988, and Keystone to Reading Award, Keystone State Reading Association, 1990, both for Chester's Way; Best of Books citation, School Library Journal, 1989, for Jessica; notable book citation from ALA, Best Books of the Year by the Library of Congress, Reading Magic Award from Parenting Magazine, best books citation from the School Library Journal, all 1991, all for Chrysanthemum; notable book citation, ALA, 1992, Elizabeth Burr Award, Wisconsin Library Association, 1993, for Words of Stone; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honor book, and Caldecott Honor Book, both 1994, both for Owen; Best Books of the Year citation, Publishers Weekly, 1995, for Protecting Marie; Booklist "Top of the List" Picture Book Award, 1996, and American Booksellers Book of the Year (ABBY) Award, American Booksellers Association, 1997, for Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse; best books of the year citation, School Library Journal, 1997, Best Books, School Library Journal, 1998, and notable book citation, ALA, 1998, all for Sun and Spoon; Notable Wisconsin Author, Wisconsin Library Association, 2001; nominated, Utah Children's Picture Book award, 2002, for Wemberly Worried; Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature, Ohio Library Foundation, 2002; Newbery Honor Book, Top of the List Award, Booklist, 2003, for Olive's Ocean.



(Self-illustrated) Return to Sender, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.

(Self-illustrated) Two under Par, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.

The Zebra Wall, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.

Words of Stone, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.

Protecting Marie, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

Sun and Spoon, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.

The Birthday Room, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.

Olive's Ocean, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.


All Alone, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1981.

Clean Enough, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1982.

Margaret and Taylor, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1983.

Bailey Goes Camping, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1985.

Grandpa and Bo, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1986.

Sheila Rae, the Brave, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.

A Weekend with Wendell, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.

Chester's Way, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.

Jessica, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1989.

Shhhh, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1989.

Julius, the Baby of the World, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1990.

Chrysanthemum, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1991.

Owen, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.

Wemberly Worried, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Owen's Marshmallow Chick, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Julius's Candy Corn, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Owen's Marshmallow Chick Book and Finger Puppet, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.

Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick Book and Finger Puppet, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.

Kitten's First Full Moon, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.

Lilly's Chocolate Heart, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.


Once around the Block, illustrated by Victoria Chess, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.

Good-bye, Curtis, illustrated by Marisabina Russo, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

The Biggest Boy, illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

Circle Dogs, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.

Oh!, illustrated by Laura Dronzek, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.

(Author of introduction) Bonjour, Babar, illustrated by Jean de Brunhoff, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

So Happy!, illustrated by Anita Lobel, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2005.

Several of Henkes' books have been translated into Spanish.


A Weekend with Wendell was made into a filmstrip and a read-along audiocassette, both by Weston Woods, both 1988; Recorded Books made audiocassettes of Words of Stone, 1993, Two under Par, 1997, and The Zebra Wall, 1997; Listening Library made an audiocassette of Sun and Spoon, 1998, and The Birthday Room, 2000. Weston Woods has made videocassette adaptations of A Weekend with Wendell, Owen, and Chrysanthemum, while Broderbund Software has created a "Living Books" CD-ROM game of Sheila Rae, the Brave; Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a musical play based on the Lilly mouse character and on the stories Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse; Julius, the Baby of the World; and Chester's Way. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is also available on cassette, Live Oak Media, 2000.


Kevin Henkes has been writing and illustrating for children ever since he was almost a child himself: he won his first New York contract when he was only nineteen. He is equally at home in the world of middle-grade and young adult novels as he is in that of picture books for preschool and primary graders. In these picture books, he has created an endearing cast of mouse characters, including Wendell, Sheila Rae, Lilly, Chester, Wemberly, Chrysanthemum, Julius, and Owen, all of whom are referred to by Alice Cary of BookPage as the "Henkes Mousedom." Doug Ward noted in the New York Times Book Review that "Kevin Henkes has a way with mice. He makes them human." Henkes's fiction and picture books for young readers have been praised by many critics for their light-hearted, yet sensitive portrayal of the common occurrences in young children's lives. In her review of Jessica, Mary Harris Veeder suggested in Tribune Books that Henkes's ability to represent with accuracy, sensitivity, and good-humor, many of the events children experience in day-to-day life is one reason for his popularity with young readers. Veeder wrote, "Henkes' children are full of the imperfections and emotions which mark real life."

Though initially best known for his picture books, Henkes has also made a name for himself as a novelist. Henkes humanizes the characters in his novels for an older audience just as he does those for younger readers. In titles such as The Zebra Wall, Words of Stone, Protecting Marie, Sun and Spoon, and The Birthday Room, Henkes deals with births and deaths, coming to terms with the inner self, and learning to take life's hard bumps and carry on. His 2003 work Olive's Ocean received critical acclaim and became a Newbery Honor Book. Speaking with Booklist's Ilene Cooper, Henkes noted that he has been writing novels for as long as he's been doing picture books, since the early 1980s. "But with the novels, I tend to think about things for a bit longer," he told Cooper. "I write very, very slowly. Sometimes it will take me a week to write a paragraph. Then I'll go over it for a couple of days. I'll take things out and put things back in. I do very few drafts; I usually write one draft exceedingly slowly. I also keep extensive notes about my characters. . . . I think it makes me a better writer." And writing on his Web site, he noted that for him the process of writing novels was much different than creating picture books. "I can delve much deeper into a character's psyche, for example. I can describe a scene at length. And I can deal with subject matter that is more complex than the subject matter in my picture books. But because I'm a very visual person, I do have very strong images in my head as I work. I love describing my characters and their environments. Setting a scene—providing proper lighting, the colors and textures of things, sounds—is one of my favorite things about writing a novel."

Wisconsin Roots

Books played an important part of Henkes's childhood in Wisconsin. His family regularly visited the local public library, and checking out his own books and carrying them home was an important part of the ritual for Henkes. Illustrations often determined which books he would select, and the works of Crockett Johnson and Garth Williams were particular favorites. "I think I always knew [I would be an artist]," the illustrator told Ilene Cooper of Booklist.

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

"My parents and my sisters encouraged me in that. There was an art museum near my house, and we used to make excursions there." As a high schooler, Henkes was encouraged by a teacher to develop his writing skills as well, and this gave him the idea for his future career. "I knew I liked to write, draw and paint," he said in a Publishers Weekly interview with Nathalie Op de Beeck, "and I wanted to find an art form to combine those things—that's when I rediscovered picture books."

Henkes attended the University of Wisconsin, where he majored in art. Between his first two years of college, he decided to travel to New York City to find a publisher who might be interested in his work. While breaking into publishing is usually very difficult, the idealistic student was undaunted. "I picked the week I would go to New York, made a list of my ten favorite publishers, and set up appointments," he told Op de Beeck. "I went thinking, 'I'll come back with a book contract.'" Henkes had done his homework and had included among his interviews one with Susan Hirschman, an editor at Greenwillow whom he had heard lecture on tape. He made a good connection with her, and when he returned to school, the nineteen-year-old had a contract for his first book in hand. In 1981, Henkes published his first picture book, All Alone, which he had first drafted while he was still in high school.

Both All Alone and its follow-up, Clean Enough, are gentle stories relating ordinary, everyday activities of children. Bathtime is the focus of Clean Enough, as a little boy considers how to get the water just the right temperature and remembers previous adventures in the tub. School Library Journal contributor Joan W. Blos found this work "highly successful" and praised the text's "nuances of humor" as well as Henkes's "affectionate drawings."

After publishing Margaret and Taylor and Return to Sender, Henkes tried his hand at his first animal characters in Bailey Goes Camping, featuring the young rabbit Bailey, who is disappointed at being left behind on a Bunny Scouts camping trip. His understanding mother, however, finds ways for him to enjoy camping activities while at home. The story "truly captures the world of the small child," Anne Devereaux Jordan Crouse remarked in Children's Book Review Service, adding praise for the book's "wit and warmth." With its gentle pastels and simple text, Bailey Goes Camping is "a cozy, comfortable book that will leave youngsters smiling," Denise M. Wilms wrote in Booklist. A loving spirit also infuses Grandpa and Bo, about a shared summer between a boy and his grandfather. The book "is a welcome addition to [Henkes's] growing list of accomplishments," a Kirkus Reviews critic stated, explaining that the artist's "soft pencil drawings accurately convey the story's mood of quiet simplicity."

Henkes's "Mousedom"

Many of Henkes's most popular books feature a group of young mice whose adventures and concerns mirror those of children worldwide. "I found I could get much more humor out of animals, and besides it freed me from having to sketch from a human model," the artist revealed to Cooper. "I tried rabbits for a while, but I found mice to be the most fun. Now, I've really grown attached to some of my mouse characters, so I'd like to explore their lives a little bit more." The first of these mouse works is the Children's Choice Book A Weekend with Wendell. The story of Wendell staying with Sophie's family for the weekend is "divertingly recounted by Henkes with good humor and charm," a Publishers Weekly critic stated, adding that "the postures of his mice children speak volumes."

In 1987, Henkes brought out two more stories about his little rodent characters, Sheila Rae, the Brave, and Chester's Way, which introduces one of the author's most popular characters, the imaginative and impish Lilly. When Lilly moves into the neighborhood, best friends Chester and Wilson both have some adjusting to do before the trio become good friends. "Henkes's vision of friendship captures the essence of the childlike," a Publishers Weekly critic noted, adding that "every sentence is either downright funny or dense with playful, deadpan humor."

To the delight of his fans, Henkes has continued to explore the world of his young mouse characters in several critically acclaimed picture books, including Julius, the Baby of the World. "There is much to admire, giggle over and learn from Julius, the Baby of the World," Ann Pleshette Murphy wrote in the New York Times Book Review. Veeder offered a similar positive assessment in Chicago Tribune Books, admitting: "I've read this one over and over just for fun."

Henkes explores everyday concerns in books such as Chrysanthemum, in which a girl discovers that being different can mean being special, and Owen, which earned Henkes a Caldecott Honor Book citation. As Hazel Rochman explained in Booklist, like previous Henkes heroes, "Owen the mouse is a sturdy and vulnerable individual, and he is everychild." A Publishers Weekly writer hailed the "characteristically understated humor" of Henkes's "spry text and brightly hued watercolor-and-ink pictures."

While Owen earned its creator his first major award citations, Henkes's next picture book has proven to be one of his most popular. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse features the return of the spunky little girl mouse, now in school. Henkes "once again demonstrates his direct line to the roller-coaster emotions of small children," a Kirkus Reviews writer stated. Reviewers highlighted the artist's use of humor as well as his ability to express feelings in his drawings. School Library Journal contributor Marianne Saccardi observed that "with a few deft strokes, Henkes changes Lilly's facial expressions and body language to reveal a full range of emotions." Ilene Cooper of Booklist likewise hailed Henkes's ability to portray Lilly's mixed emotions, and commented, "That Henkes is able to bring this perplexity—and its sometimes sweet solutions—to a child's level is his gift." The result of this gift, wrote M. P. Dunleavey in New York Times Book Review, is "a book so delightful, so exuberant, honest and evocative of the passionate life that children live as we look on, that one considers nailing a proclamation to the door of the local bookseller or wearing a copy around one's neck to advertise it."

Other books featuring the lovable mice include Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, which reviewer Kathy Broderick, writing in Booklist, called a "beautifully told story" that "reflects an honest childhood experience." In Wemberly Worried, Henkes focuses on a "worrywart's" imaginings about starting school. "Whimsical watercolors will win over even the mousiest readers," wrote a School Library Journal reviewer. Owen is also reprised in Owen's Marshmallow Stick, and Wemberly also makes a return appearance in the 2003 Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star, a "charming story . . . complemented with adorable illustrations," according to Melinda Piehler in School Library Journal.

Although Henkes has had numerous offers to have his characters, such as Lilly, turned into cartoon characters for television and video, he has refused nearly all of them. "I will do more books with these characters, and I thought if there was a television series with mouse characters they would do so many episodes that it would hinder my future book work," commented Henkes to Wisconsin State Journal. "For example, if they did a story about Lilly's birthday, then could I write a book about Lilly's birthday?" However, the Lilly character has been adapted into a play with the same name as the book Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. The play, which helps introduce children to orchestra music, has been performed by Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration performers throughout the United States. "When I first heard the music, I instantly thought that this was exactly right, which was nice," Henkes told Sandra Kallio and the Wisconsin State Journal.

Novels for Young Readers

The mid-1980s saw the author introduce the first of what has since become a growing body of novels that address issues that confront children everywhere. In a Booklist interview with Ilene Cooper, Henkes expounded more on the differences between writing novels and picture books: "My picture books tend to be more humorous and my novels more serious, and I don't really know why that is or how it happens. I do know when I'm smack in the middle of doing a picture book and having a hard time, I want to be working on a novel—and vice versa, of course." Henkes broke into print as a novelist with the 1984 Return to Sender, and in his second novel, Two under Par, he presents the story of a boy, Wedge, as he tries to adapt to his new stepfather and stepbrother. When his mother becomes pregnant, Wedge feels more isolated than ever. One Publishers Weekly reviewer applauded Two under Par, in particular the "complicated process of learning acceptance and being accepted . . . [which] Henkes explores with confidence and care." A new baby is also arriving in the 1988 novel, The Zebra Wall, prompting a visit by the eccentric and slightly annoying Aunt Irene. Adine, the young girl who must share her room with Aunt Irene during her stay, is none too pleased—about

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

either new arrival. Elizabeth S. Watson concluded in Horn Book Magazine that The Zebra Wall "embodies genuine understanding of a ten-year-old's fears," making for a "beguiling story peopled with true characters."

Throughout the 1990s, Henkes continued developing his skills in the novel genre. WordsofStone is a novel that "speaks to children's deepest emotions—fear, anger, loss," according to Martha V. Parravano writing in Horn Book. The book features another ten-year-old, in this case the boy, Blaze Werla, who lost his mother when he was five and has lived a life fill with fear ever since. Meanwhile, Joselle Stark, abandoned once more by her pretty mother Vicke, who has a new boyfriend, is visiting her grandmother next door to Blaze's. She is the polar opposite of the boy: big, brash and seemingly fearless. Hearing about Blaze's life, she inscribes mean-spirited messages in rocks on the hillside between the two houses. Blaze is pained by these messages, but as usual feels helpless to do anything about them. When he and Joselle meet, they are unexpectedly attracted to one another. Blaze's gentle, easygoing ways take some of the sting from Joselle, while her straightforward approach to life helps him be more aggressive. So strong is their relationship that it even survives Blaze's discovery that it was Joselle who wrote the hurtful words on the hill. Parravano commended the setting of the novel—"the everyday world of malls and summer lakeside picnics" in rural Wisconsin—for providing "just the right ballast for [Henkes's] introspective story." Parravano went on to call Words of Stone a "beautifully written, rich, and tender novel." Similarly, a contributor for Publishers Weekly found the book to be a "stirring contemporary novel" in which Henkes "paints a poignant picture of two lonely children whose paths cross one summer." The same reviewer went on to describe the book as an "exceptionally sensitive and accurate portrayal of isolation," and further prophesied that Henkes's "vivid characterizations and profound symbolism are sure to liner in readers' minds."

In Protecting Marie, Henkes portrays the world of twelve-year-old Fanny, who longs for the dog she feels is her destiny. When her artist father brings such a dog home one summer, she is elated, but ultimately the dog makes such a mess that Henry, the father, demands they give the puppy away. This incident has driven a wedge between father and daughter; both are too much like the other, and forgiveness as well as understanding is difficult. Henry is not merely authoritative; he is an aging painter and suffers from a creative block, and desperately wants to reconnect with his daughter. When he brings another dog home, this time an older one and already trained, Fanny is reluctant to open to it

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

or to Henry, fearful the animal might also be taken away from her. However, as Nancy Vasilakis, writing in Horn Book, noted, Henkes makes clear in his novel "how much the members of this family care about one another and how hard they will work to come to terms," all of which means that the "end is hopeful after all." Vasilakis concluded that the characters "ring heartbreakingly true in this quiet, wise story." Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman found that Henkes's novel portrayed the same feeling of "the child's powerlessness in a world run by unpredictable grownups" as his picture books do. "This is a rich and intensely developed story," Joanne Schott observed in Quill & Quire, concluding that "adolescent Fanny is complex, true, and delightful to know." And a critic for Publishers Weekly thought this was a "tender novel" that never loses sight of "compassion and hope." The same reviewer further observed, "Through sharp visual imagery, honest narrative and insightful flashbacks, [Henkes] affirms the resiliency of the creative spirit and the transcending power of love."

The 1997 novel Sun and Spoon also received praise as offering "another meticulously crafted, quietly engaging epiphany," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. Spoon, the middle child, is named after an engraved antique spoon his mother found shortly before he was born. Engraved on the spoon is the name "Frederick," and that one incident has provided him both a given name and a nickname. Sensitive and very emotional, Spoon is deeply affected by the death of his grandmother, and desperately wants to have something of hers that will remind him of her, fearful lest she slip away from him totally. He decides to take her favorite pack of solitaire cards, emblazoned with a sun. However, when his grandfather discovers the cards are missing, he becomes distraught at the loss. Spoon must learn to reconcile his own needs with the needs of others; finally he returns the cards and tells his grandfather that he took them, growing wiser in the process. "Readers, safely ensconced in the story's warmth, will savor the understated narrative and its powerful message of affirmation," wrote a critic for Publishers Weekly. Similarly, Booklist's Rochman noted that "every child who has lost a beloved relative will recognize the immensity of this ordinary experience." Reviewing the novel in the New York Times Book Review, Elizabeth Spires thought that "all readers can identify with Spoon's wonder and bereavement at time passing, at how unprepared we are for each change." Spires added, "In such small, unforgettable moments, Henkes is at his very best." Mary M. Burns, writing in Horn Book, had further praise, observing that "Henkes's ability to create dramatic conflict from the daily struggles of ordinary lives is rare in novels for this audience." Burns concluded, "Controlled yet charged with feeling, the story has an impact far greater than its modest dimensions."

Family relationships are also at the heart of The Birthday Room, a novel inspired by the birth of Henkes's own son. As the author told Jennifer M. Brown in Publishers Weekly, "'[My son] was so little and fragile, and as a first child he seemed more so to us. We were so carefulwith him. . . . And then I got to thinking: What would happen if an accident happened that wounded a child in some way? What would that be like from a child's perspective.'" In his novel, Ben has been injured as a toddler by Uncle Ian, who accidentally cut the child's little finger off in his woodworking shop. Now twelve, Ben is celebrating his birthday; a budding artist, he has been presented with his very own studio by his parents, an attic room they have converted as his present. He also receives a letter from Uncle Ian with an airplane ticket to come and visit him in Oregon; he hasn't seen his uncle since the incident with his little finger, and Ben's mother has still not forgiven her brother for his carelessness. She at first does not want to go to Ian's, but Ben convinces her. "So begins," noted Karen Leggett in the New York Times Book Review, "a journey into the struggles of a preadolescent boy thrown into the gray world of family relations." Together mother and son travel to Oregon, meet Ian's pregnant wife, and begin to come to terms with old scars. While in Oregon, Ben also meets the Deeter children, Lynnie and Kale, nearby neighbors, and through all these influences "he makes some important discoveries about his family and himself," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. A reviewer for Horn Book wrote, "Told in spare, unobtrusive prose, a story that helps us to see our own chances for benefiting from mutual tolerance, creative conflict resolution, and other

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

forms of good will." For Leggett it was "refreshing" to have a male protagonist "who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive." And the contributor for Publishers Weekly further commented that Henkes's "understated narrative from Ben's perspective has a translucent quality that allows readers to discover the subtle dynamics among the adult characters right along with Ben."

Henkes's 2003 novel, Olive's Ocean, is a further portrayal of a sensitive child attempting to understand the world. Olive Barstow was in Martha Boyle's class until she was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bicycle. Martha didn't really know Olive, but after Olive's mother gives her a section from Olive's journal, Martha knows they would have been friends. With school out, Martha and her family are going to visit Godbee, Martha's grandmother, on Cape Cod for the rest of the summer, as they always do. Martha looks forward to these summer vacations and to her first sight of the ocean every year. She also looks forward to seeing the five Manning boys who live next door, and especially Jimmy Manning, who is always videotaping things, and who gives Martha her first kiss. There is also Tate, who seems to follow Martha with his eyes. And this year, as a near palpable guest, there is Olive, who had always wanted to see the ocean, and who now haunts Martha's thoughts and dreams.

This eighth novel from Henkes was awarded a Newbery Honor Book distinction and won general critical praise. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews, for example, felt that "characters and setting are painted in with the deft strokes of an experienced artist," and that "few girls will fail to recognize themselves in Martha." Kliatt's Claire Rosser thought that "Martha Boyle is one of the memorable 12-year-old girls of fiction, smart, confused, compassionate." Writing a starred review in School Library Journal, Maria B. Salvadore commented that "rich characterizations move this compelling novel to its satisfying and emotionally authentic conclusion." Similarly, a contributor to Publishers Weekly observed in another starred review, "With his usual sensitivity and insight, Henkes . . . explores key issues of adolescence, through the observations of aspiring 12-year-old writer, Martha Boyle." Michael Cart had further praise in his Booklist review, noting that he thought the novel is not "big and splashy, . . . its quiet art and intelligence will stick with readers, bringing them comfort and reassurance as changes inevitably visit their own growing-up years." And Sarah Ellis, writing in Horn Book, noted that "all of Henkes's strengths as a fiction writer—economy, grace, humor, respect for his characters, a dramatist's eye for gesture, and an underlying good-naturedness—are given wonderful play here."

If you enjoy the works of Kevin Henkes

If you enjoy the works of Kevin Henkes, you might want to check out the following books:

Kate DeCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie, 2000.

Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud, not Buddy, 2000.

E. L. Konigsburg, The View from Saturday, 1996.

Sharing his enjoyment of art and writing with his readers of all ages is one of Henkes's most important goals, as he wrote in Children's Books and Their Creators. "I hope that there is something about my books that connects with children, and something that connects with the adult readers. Even if something traumatic happens to one of my characters, I like to have my stories end on a hopeful note. That's my gift to the reader."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Children's Literature Review, Volume 23, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.

Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.


Booklist, September 15, 1985, Denise M. Wilms, review of Bailey Goes Camping, p. 134; August, 1993, Hazel Rochman, review of Owen, p. 2060; May 15, 1994, Barbara Baskin, review of Words of Stone, p. 1702; March 15, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of Protecting Marie, pp. 1330-1331; October 15, 1995, Carolyn Phelan, review of Good-bye, Curtis, p. 411; February 15, 1996, Jeanette Larson, review of Two under Par, (audiobook), p. 1036; August, 1996, Ilene Cooper, review of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, p. 1904; January 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, interview with Henkes, p. 868; August, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of Sun and Spoon, p. 1900; July, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of The Birthday Room,p. 1946; August, 1999, Barbara Baskin, review of Sun and Spoon (audiobook), p. 2074; August, 2001, Kathy Broderick, review of Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, p. 2130; January 1, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Owen's Marshmallow Chick, p. 864; July, 2002, Stephanie Zvirin, "Book Award Bonanza," p. 1836; September 1, 2003, Michael Cart, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 122; September 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Julius's Candy Corn, and Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star, p. 245; January 1, 2004, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 781; January 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, interview with Kevin Henkes, p. 853; February 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Kitten's First Full Moon, p. 1056; March 15, 2004, Anna Rich, review of Julius, The Baby of the World (audiobook), p. 1318.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1986, Betsy Hearne, review of A Weekend with Wendell, pp. 27-28; March, 1987, Betsy Hearne, review of Once around the Block, p. 126; February, 1989, Roger Sutton, review of Jessica, p. 148; March, 1995, p. 237; October, 1996, p. 62.

Children's Book Review Service, November, 1985, Anne Devereaux Jordan Crouse, review of Bailey Goes Camping, p. 25.

Horn Book Magazine, May-June, 1988, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of The Zebra Wall, p. 352; September-October, 1988, Ann A. Flowers, review of Chester's Way, p. 616; May-June, 1989, Mary M. Burns, review of Jessica, p. 357; March-April, 1993, Martha V. Parravano, review of Words of Stone, pp. 207-208; November-December, 1993, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Owen, pp. 733-734; May-June, 1995, p. 325; July-August, 1995, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Protecting Marie, pp. 458-459; November-December, 1995, p. 733; September-October, 1997, Mary M. Burns, review of Sun and Spoon, pp. 571-572; September-October, 1999, review of The Birthday Room, p. 611; September, 2001, review of Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, p. 574; November-December, 2003, Sarah Ellis, review of Olive's Ocean, pp. 745-746; January-February, 2004, review of Olive's Ocean, pp. 10-11; May-June, 2004, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Kitten's First Full Moon, p. 314.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 1981, review of All Alone, p. 1517; February 15, 1986, review of Grandpa and Bo, p. 303; April 15, 1987, review of Once around the Block, p. 638; April 1, 1995, review of Protecting Marie, p. 469; July 15, 1995, p. 1024; June 15, 1996, review of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, p. 899; June 1, 1997, review of Sun and Spoon, p. 873; July 15, 1998, review of Circle Dogs, p. 1035; March 1, 2003, review of Wemberly's Ice-Cram Star, p. 386; July 1, 2003, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 911; February 15, 2004, review of Kitten's First Full Moon, p. 179.

Kliatt, July, 2003, Claire Rosser, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 13.

New York Times Book Review, April 28, 1991, Ann Pleshette Murphy, review of Julius, the Baby of the World, p. 22; November 10, 1996, M. P. Dunleavey, "The Mouse that Boogied," p. 41; November 10, 1996, M. P. Dunleavey, review of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, p. 41; November 16, 1997, Elizabeth Spires, "The Last Flip," p. 47; November 16, 1997, Elizabeth Spires, review of Sun and Spoon, p. 47; November 21, 1999, Tiana Norgren, review of Oh!, p. 41; December 5, 1999, Karen Leggett, review of The Birthday Room, p. 95; October 15, 2000, Doug Ward, review of Wemberly Worried, p. 31.

Publishers Weekly, December 18, 1981, review of All Alone, p. 70; July 25, 1986, review of A Weekend with Wendell, p. 187; March 13, 1987, review of Two under Par, pp. 84-85; June 26, 1987, review of Sheila Rae, the Brave, p. 71; March 11, 1988, review of The Zebra Wall, pp. 104-105; July 8, 1988, review of Chester's Way, p. 53; June 9, 1989, review of Shhhh, p. 65; July 27, 1990, p. 233; Augusts 31, 1992, review of Words of Stone, p. 79; September 20, 1993, review of Owen, p. 71; March 6, 1995, p. 69; May 15, 1995, review of Protecting Marie, p. 73; August 12, 1996, Nathalie Op de Beeck, interview with Henkes, p. 26; June 16, 1997, review of Sun and Spoon, p. 60; July 6, 1998, review of Circle Dogs, p. 59; November 16, 1998, review of Sun and Spoon (audiobook), p. 30; July 5, 1999, review of The Birthday Room, p. 72; November 22, 1999, Jennifer M. Brown, "Kevin Henkes," p. 21; August 18, 2003, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 80; November 10, 2003, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 37; February 16, 2004, review of Kitten's First Full Moon, p. 171.

Quill & Quire, June, 1995, Joanne Schott, review of Protecting Marie, p. 60.

School Library Journal, October, 1982, Joan W. Blos, review of Clean Enough, p. 141; June, 1987, Robert Unsworth, review of Two under Par, pp. 96; September, 1987, David Gale, review of Sheila Rae, the Brave, p. 164; January, 1990, p. 83; November, 1993, p. 82; October, 1995, p. 104; August, 1996, Marianne Saccardi, review of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, p. 122; July, 1997, Marilyn Payne Phillips, review of Sun and Spoon, p. 94; September, 1998, p. 173; December 2000, Trev Jones, review of Wemberly Worried, p. 53; December, 2001, Roxanne Burg, review of Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, p. 104; February, 2002, Ann Cook, review of Owen's Marshmallow Chick, p. 107; May, 2002, Maren Ostergard, review of Wemberly Worried, pp. 71-72; February, 2003, Lee Bock, review of Sheila Rae the Brave, p. 96; March, 2003, Kirsten Martindale, review of Sheila Rae the Brave, pp. 92-93; May, 2003, Melinda Piehler, review of Wemberly's Ice-CramStar, p. 120; August, 2003, Olga R. Kuharets, review of Julius's Candy Corn, p. 129; August, 2003, Maria B. Salvadore, review of Olive's Ocean, p. 160; February, 2004, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Lilly's Chocolate Heart, p. 114; April, 2004, Kirsten Martindale, review of Julius, The Baby of the World (audiobook) p. 81; April, 2004, Wendy Lukehart, review of Kitten's First Full Moon, p. 114.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), May 14, 1989, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Jessica, p. 5; August 12, 1990, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Julius, the Baby of the World, p. 5.

Wisconsin State Journal, November 14, 1999, Sandra Kallio, "Lilly Makes Music: Popular Children's Book Character Comes to Life in Musical Composition," p. 1F; February 20, 2001, "No TV, Video for Henkes' Characters," p. D4.


BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (1996), Alice Cary, review of "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse."

Official Kevin Henkes Web Site,http://www.kevinhenkes.com/(February 27, 2004).

Wisconsin Library Association Web Site,http://www.wla.lib.wi.us (2001), "2001 Notable Wisconsin Authors."*