Stanton, Karen 1960–

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Stanton, Karen 1960–


Born June, 1960, in Oceanside, CA. Education: B.A. (architecture); University of California, Berkeley, M.A. (architecture).


Home—Piedmont, CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Children's book author and illustrator. Formerly worked as an architect, metro-San Francisco, CA; art teacher at elementary-school level; City College, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, instructor in children's-book writing. P.A.I.N.T.S. (art education advocacy group), member. Presenter at schools.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Northern California chapter).

Awards, Honors

International Reading Association Notable Books for a Global Society designation, and Paterson Prize for Books for Young People special recognition, both 2008, both for Papi's Gift.


(Self-illustrated) Mr. K and Yudi, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Papi's Gift, illustrated by René King Moreno, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2007.

Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2010.


A former architect, Karen Stanton now teaches children's picture-book writing, illustration, and publishing at City College of San Francisco. In addition, she is the author of the picture books Mr. K and Yudi and Papi's Gift, the former which includes her original full-color illustrations.

Inspired by one of Stanton's neighbors, Mr. K and Yudi depicts the close relationship between an elderly man and his loyal dog, Yudi. At first the two go for walks together, sit by the fire, and share meals in their apartment, gradually Mr. K becomes increasingly feeble, until one day he does not get out of bed. Needing to go outside, Yudi leaves the man behind, and spends the day in rambunctious doggy fashion. However, when he returns for dinner, Mr. K is gone, and Yudi searches high and low until he finds his owner safe and cared for in a nearby nursing home. Calling Stanton's acrylic-and-paper collage illustrations "cheerful and bright," Booklist contributor Denise Wilms added that the "poignant" message in Mr. K and Yudi resolves itself in "an ending that children will appreciate." In Publishers Weekly a reviewer praised the author for narrating her story from the dog's viewpoint "without anthropomorphizing," and concluded that "the affection between dog and owner shines through" in the debut picture book.

Featuring Mexican folk-style illustrations by René King Moreno, Papi's Gift depicts another close relationship, this one between a father and daughter. In the story, soon-to-be-seven year old Graciela awaits the arrival of her migrant-worker father. He has been working the harvest up in California, but promised that he would try to return home in time for her special day. When Papi is unable to return home, Graciela finds a way to turn her own disappointment into a gift for her hardworking father in what a Kirkus Reviews writer described as "a sweet, gentle story" about two family members "separated by circumstances." Stanton's narration, featuring what School Library Journal contributor Barbara Katz praised as "an authentic child's voice," includes Spanish words that "add authenticity to the engaging text," according to the reviewer. Also recommending Papi's Gift as a valuable cross-cultural story, Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman commented that Stanton's "realistic" and "moving picture book tells the migrant labor story from the viewpoint of the child left behind."

"Making art with kids, writing and illustrating for kids, and working to assure that every child in our country gets an arts education are my favorite things to do," Stanton explained on her home page. "I'm pretty lucky to be able to wake up every day and do my most favorite things."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, July, 2001, Denise Wilms, review of Mr. K and Yudi, p. 2021; April 15, 2007, review of Papi's Gift, p. 49.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of Papi's Gift.

Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2001, review of Mr. K and Yudi, p. 106.

School Library Journal, April, 2007, Barbara Katz, review of Papi's Gift, p. 116.


Karen Stanton Home Page, (May 25, 2008).

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators of Northern California Web site, (June 1, 2005), "Karen Stanton."

About this article

Stanton, Karen 1960–

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