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Low, William

Low, William


Born in New York, NY. Education: Parson's School of Design, B.F.A.


Home and office—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]


Artist and illustrator. Cobalt Illustration Studios, New York, NY, principal artist.

Awards, Honors

Four-time Silver Medal winner, Society of Illustrators.



Chinatown, Holt (New York, NY), 1997.

Old Penn Station, Holt (New York, NY), 2007.


Wallace Earle Stegner, Crossing to Safety, Franklin Library (Franklin Center, PA), 1987.

Nola Thacker, Summer Stories, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1988.

Ellen Kindt McKenzie, Stargone John, Holt (New York, NY), 1990.

Ellen Kindt McKenzie, The King, the Princess, and the Tinker, Holt (New York, NY), 1992.

Abigail Thomas, Wake up, Wilson Street, Holt (New York, NY), 1993.

Abigail Thomas, Lily, Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Elaine Moore, Good Morning, City, Bridgewater (Mahwah, NJ), 1995.

Eve Bunting, The Days of Summer, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Bruce Edward Hall, Henry and the Kite Dragon, Philomel (New York, NY), 2004.

Amy Littlesugar, Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story, Philomel (New York, NY), 2005.

Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

T.A. Barron, The Day the Stones Walked, Philomel (New York, NY), 2007.


Painter and illustrator William Low has "a reputation for exploiting light, color, visual perspective, and emotion," according to a writer for In addition to working as a fine artist, Low is the author and illustrator of Chinatown and Old Penn Station, and has created artwork to accompany the texts of such notable authors as Eve Bunting and T.A. Barron. A native New Yorker—Low was actually born in the back seat of a taxicab in the Bronx—he is often mistaken for a tourist in his cosmopolitan home town because he can often be sighted snapping photographs. Rather than gathering souvenirs, Low is collecting evocative images that he will later incorporate into his illustrations.

Discussing Low's work as an illustrator, a Publishers Weekly critic wrote of his contributions to Abigail Thomas's Lily that the book's chalk drawings feature "softer edges and more emotion, ingeniously convey[ing]" the emotions of the main character. Stephanie Zvirin, writing in Booklist, credited Low with giving the picture book "a solid, homey feel through vibrantly colored illustrations." Of his work for Good Morning, City by Elaine Moore, a Publishers Weekly critic noted that "Low's velvety paintings assume dramatic perspectives." A Publishers Weekly critic deemed his illustrations for Bunting's The Days of Summer "as carefully and effectively lit as a stage setting," while in his artwork for Bruce Edward Hall's Henry and the Kite Dragon "Low fills his pages with vibrant, glowing color … that allow the reader to feel the passion, fear, and finally acceptance of the characters," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. School Library Journal contributor Rita Soltan wrote that his artwork for Amy Littlesugar's Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story features "a textured, rugged look" that enhances the contrast between a peaceful neighborhood with the environment of intense fear that war ultimately brings.

Low's first self-illustrated title, Chinatown, is less a narrative story than a picture book that brings an actual place to life. Turning the page, readers move throughout New York's famed Chinatown, exploring the bustling streets, colorful restaurants, exotic herbal shops, and tai chi classes that make this part of the city unique. "Kids will enjoy the physical evocation of an exciting city place," wrote Hazel Rochman in her Booklist review of the picture book.

Like Chinatown, Old Penn Station provides Low with another opportunity to share his love of New York City. In this book he details one of Manhattan's most notable landmarks, built during the early twentieth century. In his text he describes the history of Pennsylvania Station, from the train terminal's construction to the efforts to preserve the location as an historic site. His accompanying artwork showcases the architectural beauty that has given rise to empassioned preservation efforts made in the face of the cosmopolitan city's continuing growth.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 15, 1994, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Lily, p. 1542; September 15, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of Chinatown, p. 242; April 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of The Days of Summer, p. 1476; May 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Henry and the Kite Dragon, p. 1625; January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story, p. 117.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of Henry and the Kite Dragon, p. 492; February 15, 2006, review of Willy and Max, p. 186.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1992, review of The King, the Princess, and the Tinker; February 28, 1994, review of Lily, p. 86; July 31, 1995, review of Good Morning, City, p. 81; February 5, 2001, review of The Days of Summer, p. 88.

School Library Journal, September, 1997, Susan Pine, review of Chinatown, p. 186; May, 2001, Marilyn Ackerman, review of The Days of Summer, p. 112; August, 2004, Grace Oliff, review of Henry and the Kite Dragon, p. 87; April, 2005, review of Henry and the Kite Dragon, p. S28; March, 2006, Rita Soltan, review of Willy and Max, p. 196.

ONLINE, (February 23, 2007), "William Low."

Houghton Mifflin Web site, (February 24, 2007), "William Low."

William Low Home Page, (February 24, 2007).

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