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Don(ald E.) Tate Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Illustrator, Sidelights

Born 0027;s name Tammy; Education: Studied commercial art at Des Moines Area Community College, Ankey.


Agent—Linda Pratt, Sheldon Fogelman Literary Agency, 10 East 40th St., New York, NY 10016.


Commercial artist and illustrator of children's books. Publication designer in Des Moines, IA; graphics reporter for Austin American-Statesman.


Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators


Kathleen Meyers, editor, Retold American Classic Nonfiction, Perfection Form Co. (Logan, IA), 1991.

Eleanora E. Tate, Retold African Myths, Perfection Learning Corporation (Logan, IA), 1993.

Janice Kuharski, Tales of China: Retold Timeless Classics, Perfection Learning Corporation (Logan, IA), 1998.

Miriam Moore, Koi's Python, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1998.

Peter Mandel, Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays, Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2000.

Katherine Grace Bond, The Legend of the Valentine Board Book: An Inspirational Story of Love and Reconciliation, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2001.

Katherine Grace Bond, The Legend of the Valentine, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2001.

W. Nikola-Lisa, Summer Sun Risin', Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Patricia Hubbell, Black All Around!, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Alice McGill, Sure as Sunrise: Stories of Bruh Rabbit and His Walkin' Talkin' Friends, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.

Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, retellers, The Hidden Feast, August House, 2006.


A self-taught painter and commercial artist who works in oil, acrylics, and digital media, Don Tate decided at an early age that he wanted to use his drawings to tell stories to children. He was inspired to begin illustrating by his aunt, Eleanora E. Tate, who had a number of published children's books to her credit. In fact, it was Retold African Myths, a collaboration with his aunt, that provided Tate with one of his early book-illustration credits. Since the early 1990s Tate has illustrated works by a number of other writers, among them Patricia Hubbel's Black All Around!, W. Nikola-Lisa's Summer Sun Risin', and Peter Mandel's Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays.

Tate's illustrations have been widely praised by critics. "Exuberant acrylic paintings keep the pages turning in this African-American girl's imaginative ode to the color black," commented School Library Journal contributor Ajoke' T. I. Kokodoko in a review of Black All Around! In Summer Sun Risin' the illustrator's "sunny acrylic and oil paintings on textured paper" complement Nikola-Lisa's rhyming text to "portray a summer day in the life of a hardworking African-American farm family," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic. Describing Tate's work for the biography of noted New York Mets baseball player Willie Mays in Say Hey!, School Library Journal contributor Blair Christolon commented that "Tate's colorful acrylic paintings … [show] exciting movement and action across the pages." Khafre Abif, reviewing the same book for the Black Issues Book Review, also enjoyed Tate's illustrations, explaining that the illustrator used live models and a digital computer program to obtain his three-dimensional effect and concluding that with his colorful paintings Tate "hits a home run."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Black Issues Book Review, July, 2000, Khafre Abif, review of Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays, p. 73; May-June, 2003, Suzanne Rust, review of Black All Around, p. 58.

Booklist, February 15, 2000, Bill Ott, review of Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays, p. 1115; February 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Black All Around!, p. 1089.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Summer Sun Risin', p. 575; May, 2003, Ajoke' T. I. Kokodoko, review of Black All Around!, p. 120.

Publishers Weekly, April 22, 2002, review of Summer Sun Risin', p. 68.

School Library Journal, August, 2000, Blair Christolon, review of Say Hey!, p. 172; May, 2002, Anna DeWind Walls, review of Summer Sun Risin', p. 124.

Don Tate's imaginative, warmhearted illustrations work with author Patricia Hubbell's text to celebrate the beauty and importance of black. (From Black all Around.)


Don Tate's Illustrator's Web log, http://devast.blogspot.com (February 28, 2005).

Don Tate Web site, http://www.dontate.com (February 28, 2005).

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