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Shennen Bersani (1961-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Illustrator, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1961, in Weymouth, MA; Education: Attended Art Institute of Boston, 1979–84.


Office—P.O. Box 1447, Brockton, MA 02303-1447.


Illustrator. Ski Town, Braintree, MA, sign maker, 1981–89; illustrator, 1989–. Has also taught drawing at Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Picture Book Artist's Association.


Jerry Pallotta, Icky Bug Shapes, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Jerry Pallotta, Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2005.

Jerry Pallotta, Sharks! Big, Bigger, Biggest, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Work in Progress

The Snake Alphabet Book, written by Jerry Pallotta and Van Wallach, 2006; writing and illustrating Sable's Country Fair Adventure, expected publication 2007; researching American Sign Language for a possible children's book.


Massachussetts-based illustrator Shennen Bersani told SATA: "I'm the mother of four children and the shepherdess of many nights reading with them. I started on my artistic path at the age of four when my grandmother taught me how to draw juicy red apples. As long as I can recall, I wanted to be a children's book illustrator. When I was in high school and had a winning piece displayed in the Boston Globe Scholastic Art awards I knew I had to attend art school! In my mind, that was the rubber stamp of approval that I was good at what I did. The first art school I applied to was the Art Institute of Boston. At my portfolio interview the dean of admissions accepted me on the spot—so I didn't even bother to apply to any other schools. That set me on my path.

"After I had hand lettered signs for a chain of ski stores in the Boston area for eight years, I started my freelance illustration career. I did a lot of work for Johnson & Johnson illustrating surgical journals, drawing flowers for gardening magazines, and creating artwork for educational textbook assignments. My son Ryan met author Jerry Pallotta at Boston College High School. Ryan was a senior, and Jerry is an alumnus who was there giving a talk about his career. As Jerry discussed his career as a children's book author and lecturer, Ryan thought—'My mother should be illustrating his books.'

"Unbenownst to me, Ryan had some of my promotional brochures in his textbooks as bookmarks. After Jerry's presentation was over, Ryan went up to him, handed him one of my brochures and told Jerry that he should hire his mother to illustrate one of his books. That is exactly what Jerry did. I am now illustrating my fourth Pallotta book.

"As I illustrate books I hope to touch the hearts of children all across the country. I am amazed at the fan mail I receive from kids everywhere who have purchased my books. I enjoy visiting schools and libraries and sharing my knowledge and experiences of illustrating with children."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, February 1, 2005, Karin Snelson, review of Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers, p. 963.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers, p. 180.

School Library Journal, March, 2005, Patricia Manning, review of Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers, p. 200.


Shennen Bersani Web site, http://www.shennenbersani.com (August 10, 2005).

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Shennen Bersani (1961-) Biography - Personal to Mark Burgess Biography - Personal