TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

David Macaulay

David Macaulay

Born on December 2, 1946, David Macaulay was eleven when his parents moved from England to Bloomfield, New Jersey. He found himself having to adjust from an idyllic English childhood to life in a fast-paced American city. During this period of change, he began to draw seriously. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), from which he received a bachelor's degree in architecture, and spent his fifth year at RISD in the European Honors Program, studying in Rome, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.

After working as an interior designer, a junior high school teacher, and a teacher at RISD, Macaulay began to experiment with creating books. He published his first book, Cathedral, in 1973. Since then, he has created spectacular works on various subjects — including the construction of a Roman city (City), the erection of the monuments to the pharaohs (Pyramid), the building of medieval fortresses (Castle), the evolution of a New England mill town (Mill), the making of tall skyscrapers (Unbuilding), the secret of a city's hidden support system (Underground) — as well as picture books such as Rome Antics, Shortcut, and Black and White (a Caldecott Medal winner). Macaulay is the creator of the international bestseller The Way Things Work, which was expanded and updated in 1998 and is now The New Way Things Work. In 2000, Houghton Mifflin published Macaulay's Building Big, the companion book to the successful PBS series, which explores the engineering feats behind bridges, tunnels, dams, domes, and skyscrapers.

David Macaulay's elaborate show-and-tells have made him beloved of adults and children throughout the world. Time magazine once wrote, "What he draws he draws better than any other pen-and-ink illustrator in the world." His books have sold more than two million copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Five of his titles, Cathedral, Castle, City, Pyramid, and Mill have been made into popular PBS television programs. Macaulay has garnered a number of awards: the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, the Washington Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and a Dutch Silver Slate Pencil Award. He was a two-time nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and is the recipient of the Bradford Washburn Award, presented by the Museum of Science in Boston to an outstanding contributor to science.

David Macaulay lives with his family in Rhode Island in the United States.


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