Kono, Erin Eitter 1973-

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Kono, Erin Eitter 1973-

Personal

Born February 26, 1973, in Oshkosh, WI; daughter of Thomas (a university professor and coach) and Geraldine (an administrator) Eitter; married Kirk Isamu Kono (an aerospace engineer) September 29, 2001; children: Caitlyn Akiko. Education: University of Iowa, B.A.; study at University of Hull (England) and University of Southern California Los Angeles Extension.

Addresses

Home and office—Redondo Beach, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Children's book author and illustrator. Worked as an international flight attendance, 1995-2002; freelance writer and illustrator, 2002—.

Awards, Honors

Excellence in a Picture Book honor, Children's Literary Council of Southern California, and Best Lullaby and Good-Night Book designation, Nickelodeon Jr. maga-

zine, both 2005, both for Hula Lullaby; Best Books for Children designation, Association of Booksellers for Children, 2005, for Star Baby by Margaret O'Hair.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Hula Lullaby, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in Wisconsin, 2007.

ILLUSTRATOR

Margaret O'Hair, Star Baby, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Eileen Ross, Nellie and the Bandit, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.

Roni Schotter, Passover!, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

Larry Dane Brimner, A Bit Is a Bite, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Erin Eitter Kono worked for several years as an international airline stewardess before turning to writing and illustrating children's books. In addition to creating artwork for texts by authors Roni Schotter, Lary Dane Brimner, and others, Kono introduces readers to Hawaiian culture in her self-illustrated picture book Hula Lullaby. In this story, Kono depicts a firelit evening of music and dance, and a little girl who slowly drifts off to sleep beneath a starlit sky, safe in the lap of her mother. Praising the author-illustrator's rhythmic rhyming text as "an affectionate, even musical bedtime book," Carolyn Phelan wrote in Booklist that Kono's "gouache-and-pencil illustrations create an idyllic vision of Hawaiian culture." Comparing Kono's "lovely, lush paintings" to the Tahitian work of noted artist Paul Gauguin, School Library Journal contributor Rosalyn Pierini added that the "flowing movement" conveyed in the illustrations is "consistent with the motion and music portrayed" in Kono's bedtime tale.

Among the books Kono has illustrated is Schotter's Passover!, published in 2006. In a rhyming text, the book shares with young readers the Passover tradition: a time when Jewish family members come together, both young and old, to celebrate their heritage. Kono's large-scale, colorful illustrations, which feature her signature gouache-and-acrylic technique, depict such Passover traditions as the reading of the Passover story, eating the customary fare of matzoh ball soup and gefilte fish, and the custom of welcoming the prophet Elijah into the family home. Complimenting Kono's upbeat illustrations, Rachel Kamin wrote in School Library Journal that the "large, cheerful cartoon illustrations" featured in Passover! "colorfully depict a contemporary

family." In Booklist, Ilene Cooper cited the book's "cheerful ink-and-watercolor artwork, mostly in blues, greens, and yellows and highlighted by brighter spring colors," while a Kirkus Reviews critic commented that Kono's illustrations lend "a warm familial atmosphere" to Schotter's text.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2005, John Peters, review of Nellie and the Bandit, p. 1370; May 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Hula Lullaby, p. 1591; October 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Star Baby, p. 58; February 15, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Passover!, p. 104.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2005, Loretta Gaffney, review of Star Baby, p. 149.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Nellie and the Bandit, p. 423; May 1, 2005, review of Hula Lullaby, p. 540; October 15, 2005, review of Star Baby, p. 1143; February 15, 2006, review of Passover!, p. 190.

School Library Journal, July, 2005, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Hula Lullaby, p. 76; October, 2005, Amelia Jenkins, review of Star Baby, p. 124; April, 2006, Rachel Kamin, review of Passover!, p. 117.

ONLINE

Erin Eitter Kono Home Page,http://www.eekono.com (February 17, 2007).

Tugeau2 Artist Representatives Web site,http://www.tugeau2.com/ (February 17, 2007), "Erin Etter Kono."