Friday, August 29, 2008

Author Spotlight: Tony DiTerlizzi

Tony DiTerlizzi was born September 6, 1969 in south Florida, into an artistic household. He started drawing at a very early age, "including a crayon mural of Winnie-the-Pooh on his freshly painted bedroom walls." At the age of 12, inspired by Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal and by playing Dungeons and Dragons, he directed his energies into writing and illustrating a field guide on fantastical creatures. By high school graduation, he knew he wanted to be a children's book creator.

Mr. DiTerlizzi attended Florida School of the Arts, and received a degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale in 1992. At the age of 23, he found himself doing freelance work for TSR, the publisher of Dungeons and Dragons. He continued to illustrate in the gaming industry for most of the 1990's. 

After moving to New York City in 1996, he began illustrating children's books. In 2000, his first picture book as both writer and illustrator came out: Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure. He followed that with the award-winning Ted in 2001, and then came The Spider and the Fly - a New York Times best seller which won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 2003. He collaborated with Holly Black to create The Spiderwick Chronicles, a popular series which spanned from 2003-2007 and included publication of The Notebook for Fantastical Observations as well as Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. In 2006 came an alphabet book, G is for One Gzonk! Beginning in 2007, he again teamed up with Holly Black for the currently ongoing series Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles. His latest title is 2008's Kenny & the Dragon, which marks his first work as both author and illustrator of a chapter book.

Having met with much success, DiTerlizzi stays connected and open to his fans, noting:

"If it were not for their appreciation, I do not think I would be where I am today. It really is a big energy circle - you only receive what you have given."

Tony DiTerlizzi currently lives with his wife and daughter in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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