TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Robert D. San Souci

Robert D. San Souci

Robert San Souci says: "I am a native of California. I was born in San Francisco and still reside in The City by the Bay. The city will always be "home base" for me, but my travels have taken me all across the country, where I have found inspiration for many of my books: Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend (Iowa), The Talking Eggs (Louisiana), Little Gold Star (New Mexico), and Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale (representing 15 areas of the United States). Of course, I love it when a book lets me celebrate my home state - such as Two Bear Cubs, a retelling of the traditional Miwok story with its setting in California's magnificent Yosemite Valley.

But my books - many of them retellings of traditional tales - celebrate peoples and places all around the world. My most recent books include The Reluctant Dragon: Retold from the Classic Tale by Kenneth Grahame, Little Pierre: A Cajun Story from Louisiana, Double-Dare to be Scared: Another Thirteen Chilling Tales, and The Well at the End of the World. Other stories stretch from Armenia to Australia - each, I hope, helping young readers discover how much we share in common with people around the world, while underscoring just how rich, unique, and wise many of these sometimes unfamiliar cultures are in their diverse histories and traditions.

I have been lucky - since I am mainly a picture book writer who cannot do illustrations - to have been able to work with illustrators from all across the country - and others who live as far away as Moscow or Mexico City. Of course, my favorite illustrator is another California native: my brother Daniel San Souci. We have so far published nine books together - Two Bear Cubs being the latest - and look forward to working on many more books in the future.

Of special interest might be brother Dan's newest book, The Dangerous Snake and Reptile Club, which is the first of a series of "Clubhouse Books" that recreate our growing up together with our family, our friends, and the clubhouse which was variously a reptile museum, a space station, a pigeon coop, and much, much more.

Books were always important in my family. My parents read continually, and our house was well supplied with books of all sorts. I can remember poring over my father's copies of Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates or Knights of the Round Table when I could first read. Later, when I was older, I began to build my own "library" filling up shelves with books I bought from used bookstores with the monies I earned (25ยข an hour) mowing neighborhood lawns. What wonderful worlds the Oz books, Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet, Miss Pickerel under the Sea, Alice in Wonderland, Henry Huggins, and Black Beauty opened up to me! I found wonderful worlds of the magically unfamiliar or the familiar made to seem magic through the words of countless writers.

Books delighted and inspired me as a child - they continue to do so! I feel privileged to be a writer - and nothing is more wonderful then to have a young reader come up to me after a presentation at a school or library and say: "I love your books. They take me places I wish I could be. They make me feel happy. They teach me things. I think I want to be a writer, too!"

As a writer, I'm always trying to push myself in my writing. Cinderella Skeleton is my first book all in rhyme - and I had the double pleasure of writing the film story for Disney's Mulan and publishing my original, historically grounded retelling of the classic tale, Fa Mulan , based on the nearly 2,000-year-old Ballad of Mulan."


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