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Castaldi, Elicia

Castaldi, Elicia

Personal

Born November 9, in Providence, RI. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A., 2001.

Addresses

Office—146 Duane St., No. 3B, New York, NY 10013.

Career

Children's illustrator and freelance Web site designer. Providence Monthly, illustrator, 2001-03; freelance graphic designer; Macy's East, New York, NY, art director, 2004—.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

National Parent Publications Gold Award, New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing designation, and Cybil Award nomination, all 2007, and Texas Lonestar listee, 2008-09, all for Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf.

Illustrator

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Miss Polly Has a Dolly, Putnam (New York, NY), 2003.

Jennifer L. Holm, Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told through Stuff, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Elicia Castaldi grew up in Rhode Island, near the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and she was inspired by the students she saw on campus who were following their dreams to become artists. In 1997, Castaldi was accepted into RISD, and since graduating she has established her career as an illustrator of children's books while also serving as the art director of a prestigious urban department store.

In her first illustration project, the picture book Miss Polly Has a Dolly, by Pamela Duncan Edwards, Castaldi combines several elements. "Paint, collage, and computer graphics create simple figures and lots of patterns," explained Jane Marino in a review of the book for School Library Journal. In Publishers Weekly a critic commented that, in her debut, "Castaldi … creates loose collages of paper scraps, photos and crayony lines."

Castaldi's signature collages feature prominently in Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told through Stuff. Written by Newbery Honor-winning author Jennifer L. Holm, the novel combines prose with patchwork images featuring bits and pieces of seventh-grader Ginny's life: hair-dye boxes, drug-store receipts, candy wrappers, report cards, newspaper clippings, and the like. These images tell parts of Holm's story, such as the day Ginny's disastrous dye job was repaired at a local salon, and the tragedy of her dwindling bank account. Noting the prominence of the artwork in the storytelling, School Library Journal critic Diana Pierce categorized Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf as "not quite a graphic novel but not a traditional narrative either." Readers "enjoy piecing together the plot through the bits and pieces of ‘stuff’ depicted in Castaldi's collages," wrote a Kirkus Reviews writer, while a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the book's "punchy visuals and the sharp, funny details reel in the audience and don't let go."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 2007, Suzanne Harold, review of Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told through Stuff, p. 48.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 2007, Karen Coats, review of Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf, p. 89.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf.

Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, review of Miss Polly Has a Dolly, p. 60; July 30, 2007, review of Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf, p. 82.

School Library Journal, November, 2003, Jane Marino, review of Mis Polly Has a Dolly, p. 91; September, 2007, Diana Pierce, review of Middle School Is Worse than Meatloaf, p. 198.

ONLINE

Elicia Castaldi Home Page,http://www.eliciacastaldi.com (October 27, 2008).

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