Freedman, Deborah 1960–

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Freedman, Deborah 1960–


Born 1960; married; has children. Education: Yale University, B.A. (art history); Harvard University, M.Arch. (architecture).


Home and office—CT. E-mail—[email protected]


Author and illustrator. Professional architect based in CT.

Awards, Honors

Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature, 2003, and Book Sense Children's Pick, both for Scribble.


Scribble, Knopf (New York, NY), 2007.


Although she is an architect by profession, Deborah Freedman has also channeled her creativity into writing and illustrating for young people. Inspired by her own children, her first self-illustrated work, Scribble, is a creative picture book about creativity.

Featuring amusing child-like line drawings, Scribble introduces readers to sisters Lucie and Emma. Emma loves to draw pictures of princesses, while little sister Lucie favors pictures of cats. Being the older of the two, Emma looks down on Lucie's artistic efforts, and calls her pictures mere scribbles. The artistic battle line is firmly drawn when Lucie retaliates for this insult by scribbling all over Emma's cherished drawing of Princess Aurora, thereby upsetting her sister. In Freedman's imaginative story, the younger girl's scribbled kitty enters Emma's drawing, hoping to set things right by rescuing the beautiful Aurora from the tangle of lines. Eventually, the scribbled lines are rerouted, and the picture is transformed into a variant of the Sleeping Beauty story, with Lucie's scribble cat taking on the role of the handsome prince rescuing the princess from the thorny briar. In School Library Journal, Catherine Callegari wrote that Freedman's "attention to detail is excellent," helping "the amusing antics of Scribble Cat … come alive for readers." "The unselfconscious … exploration" of the line between reality and fantasy that is addressed in Scribble "is liable to spark young imaginations," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer. "Freedman's willingness to color outside the lines pays off," concluded a Publishers Weekly contributor, describing Scribble as "a clever gem of a book."

"When my children were young, they (like so many other children) spent hours sitting at the kitchen table drawing," Freedman explained to SATA. "Like most parents, I fell in love with their pictures and with the endearing back-stories that inevitably went along with them. I was inspired, but realized that I could never draw anything nearly as imaginative! So one day I simply took a stack of their drawings and photocopied them and started to doodle on them, filling the pages with little characters who interacted with my daughters'. I tinkered in this way for many years, trying to make a book out of this idea. Finally I felt ready to do my own ‘children's’ drawings, which freed me to tell my own story—the story that eventually matured into Scribble."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of Scribble.

Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2007, review of Scribble, p. 53.

School Library Journal, June, 2007, Catherine Callegari, review of Scribble, p. 97.


Deborah Freedman Home Page, (June 27, 2008).

About this article

Freedman, Deborah 1960–

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