Alsenas, Linas 1979–

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Alsenas, Linas 1979–

Personal

Born August 10, 1979, in Bedford, OH. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (history of art and architecture), 2001.

Addresses

Home and office—Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator. Worked previously as a children's book editor for Harry N. Abrams, New York, NY.

Awards, Honors

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, 2008, for Peanut.

Writings

Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2006.

Peanut, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2007.

Gay America: Struggle for Equality, Amulet Books, (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to periodicals, including Architectural Digest.

Sidelights

Linas Alsenas has always been interested in children's books. Although he studied art history in college and considered a career in architecture, his job as an editorial assistant for a New York City publisher convinced Alsenas that he would rather have a career that involved books. He worked as a children's book editor for several years before taking the step to become an author. His self-illustrated picture-book debut, Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, was published in 2006.

Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation takes a unique approach to the tradition of Christmas by centering its tale on Mrs. Claus. Although her husband, Santa Claus, has ample opportunity to travel, Mrs. Claus has a desire to see the world that has yet to be fulfilled. Every year, when Christmas duties take Santa away from the North Pole on his round-the-world gift-delivery route, Mrs. Claus is left at home to bake gingerbread cookies. After one holiday, however, she finally gets her opportunity for travel, hopping on a sleigh bound for such exotic locations as Japan, India, and Scandinavia. While Mrs. Claus is off exploring the world, Mr. Claus also has a chance to see what he has been missing: he stays busy at the North Pole baking his own cookies! Mara Alpert, in her review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation for School Library Journal, commented that the author/illustrator's "acrylic illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the tender tale," while a Publishers Weekly critic cited Alsenas for portraying his tale "in a series of humorous, well-chosen scenes."

Peanut, Alsenas's second picture book, tells the story of Mildred, a lonely elderly woman who finds a stray puppy in the park and names it Peanut. Peanut is not like other dogs, however: He does not roll over and never fetches. In addition, his nose is much, much bigger than that of a poodle, a terrier, or a pug. It turns out that Peanut is an elephant, and when a man from the circus retrieves him, Mildred is left by herself again … until a very strange kitten comes by …, a very tall kitten with two humps on its back.

In addition to picture books, Linas is the author of the nonfiction history book Gay America: Struggle for Equality. Geared for teens and heavily illustrated with photographs, the book serves as an introduction to the history of gay men and women in America since the late nineteenth century.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Horn Book, November-December, 2006, Kitty Flynn, review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, p. 687.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, p. 1126; July 1, 2007, review of Peanut, p. 659.

Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2006, review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, p. 69.

School Library Journal, October, 2006, Mara Alpert, review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation, p. 94; December 1, 2007, Linda M. Kenton, review of Peanut.

ONLINE

Children's Bookwatch Web site,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (December 1, 2006), review of Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation.

Linas Alsenas Home Page,http://www.linasalsenas.com (December 11, 2007).