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Kevin (Cliff) Hawkes (1959-) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1959, in Sherman, TX; Education: Utah State University, B.A., 1985. Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). Hobbies and other interests: Bicycling, playing soccer, reading, gardening, painting furniture.


Illustrator and author. Xam, Inc., Midvale, UT, animation assistant, 1985; Gibby Studios, Ogden UT, photo re-toucher, 1985-86; book store clerk in Boston, MA, 1986-87; freelance illustrator, 1987-90; children's illustrator and writer, 1990—.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Kevin Hawkes

Honors Awards

Nominee, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award in nonfiction, 2002, for Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, by M. T. Anderson.



Then the Troll Heard the Squeak, Lothrop (Boston, MA), 1991.

His Royal Buckliness, Lothrop (Boston, MA), 1992.


Marvin Terban, Hey, Hay!: A Wagonful of Funny Homonym Riddles, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Walter de la Mare, The Turnip, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 1992.

Joyce Maxner, Lady Bugatti, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.

Caroline Stutson, By the Light of the Halloween Moon, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Kathryn Lasky, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1994.

Catherine Cowan, The Nose, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1994.

M. L. Miller, The Enormous Snore, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.

Roni Schotter, Dreamland, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Bill Grossman, My Little Sister Ate One Hare, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1996.

Michelle Dionetti, Painting the Wind, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

Elizabeth Loredo, Boogie Bones, Putnam (New York, NY), 1997.

Kathryn Lasky, Marven of the Great North Woods, Harcourt, Brace (San Diego, CA), 1997.

Dee Lillegard, The Poombah of Badoombah, Putnam (New York, NY), 1998.

Jack Prelutsky, Imagine That!: Poems of Never-Was, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.

Jane Yolen and Linda Mannheim, The Liars' Book, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Catherine Cowan, My Friend the Piano, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1998.

Mary Ann Hoberman, And to Think We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends, Crown (New York, NY), 1999.

Paul Fleischman, Weslandia, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

Marion Dane Bauer, Jason's Bears, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.

Eva Ibbotson, Island of the Aunts, Dutton (New York, NY), 2000.

Philip Pullman, I Was a Rat!, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.

Bill Grossman, Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny, Laura Geringer Books (New York, NY), 2000.

A Christmas Treasury: Very Merry Stories and Poems, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Eva Ibbotson, Dial-a-Ghost, Dutton (New York, NY), 2001.

Joan Aiken, A Necklace of Raindrops and Other Stories, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2001.

M. T. Anderson, Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Eva Ibbotson, The Great Ghost Rescue, Dutton (New York, NY), 2002.

Eva Ibbotson, Journey to the River Sea, Dutton (New York, NY), 2002.

Kathryn Lasky, The Man Who Made Time Travel, Melanie Kroupa Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Anne Lindberg, Worry Week, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 2003.

Eva Ibbotson, Not Just a Witch, Dutton (New York, NY), 2003.

M. T. Anderson, Me, All Alone, at the End of the World, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Lynne Bertrand, Granite Baby, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2004.

Paul Fleischman, Sidewalk Circus, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Eva Ibbotson, The Haunting of Hiram, Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.

Bill Grossman, My Little Sister Hugged an Ape, Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.


After graduating from college with a degree in art, children's book illustrator and author Kevin Hawkes did his apprenticeship in the field by working in a bookstore where he paid attention to which books caught the eye of young readers and their parents. Getting his first illustration contract in the early 1990s from Boston-based publisher David R. Godine, Hawkes has gone on to a successful career that includes several dozen illustrated titles to his credit. From Eva Ibbotson's popular "Ghost Family" series to Philip Pullman's comic IWas a Rat! to Kathryn Lasky's Marven of the Great North Woods, Hawkes's fanciful acrylic paintings bring to life a host of picture-book characters in bright, vibrant color and with droll humor.

"My characters come from places where lampposts are never straight, the hills are impossibly steep, and the skies are impossibly blue," Hawkes said on the Story-bookArt Web site. Hawkes's slightly offbeat perspective allows him to create realistic fantasy worlds, as he did for Paul Fleischman's Weslandia, about a creative, imaginative boy who refuses to fit in. "In vibrant, puckish acrylic paintings," a Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "Hawkes … introduces the outlandish elements so naturally that they seem organic" in a picture book "bursting at the seams with creativity."

Hawkes's creative contributions to the works of such authors as Ibbotson, Lasky, and Pullman, as well as Joan Aiken, M. T. Anderson, and others have elicited consistent praise from reviewers. Commenting on Hawkes's paintings for Lasky's Marven of the Great North Woods, the story of a ten-year-old Jewish boy based on the author's grandfather, New York Times Book Review contributor Meg Wolitzer found the illustrations "both exciting and tender," and their creator "as successful at depicting the gigantic, ursine men as he is at showing the existential vastness of the great outdoors." M. T. Anderson's Handel, Who Knew What He Liked relates the life of the eighteenth-century composer in a humorous way which Hawkes echoes in his illustrations. In General Music Today contributor Richard Ammon dubbed the illustrations "strikingly handsome" and "refreshingly whimsical." Even more impressed, Horn Book contributor Mary M. Burns stated in her review that Hawkes's "superb interpretive illustrations" are "executed with respect for the text and understanding of the subject."

In addition to acrylic paintings, Hawkes also creates pen-and-ink and pencil illustrations in text-heavy books for older readers. Bringing to life Ibbotson's 2001 novel Dial-a-Ghost, about the conflicts that ensue between two spectral families when they are assigned by the Adopt-a-Ghost Agency to haunt the same building, he creates illustrations described as "elegantly comic" by a Horn Book contributor, while in School Library Journal Eva Mitnick maintained that Hawkes's "black-and-white illustrations have an eerie charm." A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that in Island of the Aunts, another "Ghost Family" series installment, the artist's "whimsical drawings perfectly capture the book's slapstick action and sly humor."

In addition to illustrating the works of others, Hawkes has also created artwork for his own picture-book texts. A humorous story, Then the Troll Heard the Squeak follows a little girl whose nocturnal habit of jumping on her bed eventually creates all manner of havoc in her creaky Victorian home. Ultimately, she not only disrupts her brother, parents, and grandmother, but even awakens a crotchety old troll who has made its home in a dark corner of the house's gloomy basement. A Kirkus reviewer praised the book as "witty, innovative, and lots of fun: a fine debut." In Horn Book Ann A. Flowers praised Hawkes's "wonderfully ghoulish illustrations" while a Publishers Weekly contributor expressed equal enthusiasm for the "unusual, imaginative perspectives" adopted by the author/illustrator.

Hawkes once told Contemporary Authors: "Much of my writing stems from the issues of my early childhood. My artwork often has a darker, European look to it, perhaps the result of my stay as a child in Europe. My work certainly reflects my own personal sense of humor."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 1, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, p. 497; December 1, 1995, p. 641; April 1, 1996, p. 1374; September 1, 1998, Julie Corsaro, review of My Friend the Piano, p. 124; July, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Weslandia, p. 1942; December 15, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of And to Think We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends, p. 789; April 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Not Just a Witch, p. 1466.

General Music Today, winter, 2002, Richard Ammon, review of Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, p. 31.

Horn Book, May, 1991, Ann A. Flowers, review of Then the Troll Heard the Squeak, p. 314; November-December, 1993, p. 728; September, 2001, review of Dial-a-Ghost, p. 586; November-December, 2001, Mary M. Burns, review of Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, p. 767.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1991, review of Then the Troll Heard the Squeak, p. 248; November 1, 1992, review of His Royal Buckliness, p. 1377; October 1, 2001, review of A Christmas Treasury, p. 1424.

Library Journal, December, 1992, Judith Gloyer, review of His Royal Buckliness.

New York Times, November 18, 2001, Martha Chowning, review of Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, p. 42.

New York Times Book Review, November 13, 1994, p. 50; November 16, 1997, Meg Wolitzer, review of Marven of the Great North Woods, p. 46; December 16, 2001, review of A Christmas Treasury, p. 20; March 20, 2002, review of Journey to the River Sea, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, December 21, 1990, review of Then the Troll Heard the Squeak, pp. 55-56; July 5, 1991, Diane Roback, "Kevin Hawkes," p. 39; March 11, 1996, review of Dreamland, p. 64; August 12, 1996, pp. 82-83; October 28, 1996, p. 81; May 24, 1999, review of Weslandia, p. 78; March 17, 2003, review of The Man Who Made Time Travel, p. 77.

School Library Journal, December, 1993, pp. 94-95; September, 1994, p. 208; December 8, 1996, p. 78; August, 2001, Eva Mitnick, review of Dial-a-Ghost, p. 184; October, 2001, review of A Christmas Treasury, p. 65; December, 2001, Wendy Lukehart, review of Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, p. 117; April, 2003, Dona Ratterree, review of The Man Who Made Time Travel, p. 184.


Ingram Book Company Web site, http://www.ingrambookgroup.com/ (September 9, 2003), interview with Hawkes.

StorybookArt, http://www.storybookart.com/ (September 9, 2003), "Kevin Hawkes."*

Additional topics

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