Decker, Timothy 1974-

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Decker, Timothy 1974-


Born 1974, in Camp Hill, PA; married. Education: Kutztown University, B.F.A., 1997.


Home and office—Jersey City, NJ.


Writer and illustrator. Literacy advocate and teacher of creative writing, 2004—.



The Letter Home, Front Street (Asheville, NC), 2005.

Run Far, Run Fast, Front Street (Asheville, NC), 2007.


A car accident suffered while he was working as a professional photographer inspired Timothy Decker to make some changes in his life. Tapping into his childhood love of art and writing, Decker began writing and sketching what would become his first book, The Letter Home.

A picture book for older readers, The Letter Home is set during World War I, and is the story of a soldier writing home to his family. The narrator describes his war experience in Europe to his son, who, at the end of the book, is clutching the letter as his father arrives home. Decker's "descriptions are brief but emotion-filled," Lucinda Snyder wrote in her School Library Journal re- view, noting that the pictures contain details that flesh out the book's spare text. According to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, Decker's "delicately etched, black-and-white, pen-and-ink drawings, each framed on lovely cream-colored paper, are spare and beautiful." In Publishers Weekly, a critic commented on the complexity of the ideas in Decker's tale, concluding that "the retrospective ‘letter,’ which alludes to death while remaining nonjudgmental, implies the painful realities that adults try to withhold from children."

Decker's second book, Run Far, Run Fast, combines aspects of both the picture book and the graphic novel by combining traditional text layouts and a story told through illustrations. A young girl is told to leave home to avoid catching the Black Death in 1348. As the story progresses, the girl sees the effects of the plague, but does not understand everything that is happening around her. Eventually, she is taken in by a doctor who, although unable to stop the plague from spreading, does his best to help people suffer less. "Striking pen-and-ink illustrations tell more of the story than the spare text," wrote Robin L. Gibson in her School Library Journal review of Run Far, Run Fast, the critic calling the book "intriguing." Jesse Karp, writing in Booklist, noted that, like The Letter Home, Decker's "profound tale best suits advanced readers prepared for its subtle, potent message." Although a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that some of the drawings of people seem "awkward," the critic also assessed the "pen-and-ink panels [as] notable for their architectural renderings."

Along with his own writing and drawing, Decker is an advocacy for children's literature, and he teaches creative writing to young students. The author/illustrator described his philosophy about writing and art on his home page, noting: "In my world, writing is easier than drawing. A picture is worth 100,000 words, if not more. I'd rather rewrite an entire story than redraw a single image."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 15, 2007, Jesse Karp, review of Run Far, Run Fast, p. 60.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2005, review of The Letter Home, p. 1231; September 15, 2007, review of Run Far, Run Fast.

Publishers Weekly, October 31, 2005, review of The Letter Home, p. 55; November 5, 2007, review of Run Far, Run Fast, p. 63.

School Library Journal, February, 2006, Lucinda Snyder, review of The Letter Home, p. 130; January, 2008, Robin L. Gibson, review of Run Far, Run Fast, p. 116.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2007, Stacey Hayman, review of Run Far, Run Fast, p. 425.


Boyds Mills Press Web site, (February 24, 2009), profile of Decker.

Timothy Decker Home Page, (February 18, 2009).

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Decker, Timothy 1974-

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