TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Iza Trapani

Iza Trapani

In 1961, when I was seven years old, my mother and I came to America.  My father, sister, brother and paternal grandmother all stayed behind in the tiny apartment in Warsaw, Poland where the six of us had lived.  Under Communist rule entire families were prohibited from traveling abroad so my mother took me, the youngest, hoping to bring the rest of the family over soon thereafter.  Tragically, she died before fulfilling her dream. My father died a few years later.  Due to extenuating circumstances I was unable to return to Poland and twenty-seven years passed before I was reunited with my siblings.  I spent three and a half years in a Catholic Children’s Home and then, after completing High School, moved to the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York.

In the ensuing years I worked as a nanny, short-order cook and waitress while studying Art at the State University in New Paltz.  After graduation I worked in various capacities - as a rock climbing guide, real estate broker, caterer and freelance illustrator.  But all along I had one dream - a dream I held onto since I was a child - to make picture books. My portfolio bulged with art for children and I just hoped for that lucky break.

The break came one day in 1990 as I rode my mountain bike and a turtle crossed the trail in front of me. The serendipitous encounter inspired a poem which led to the publication of my first book, What Am I? An Animal Guessing Game.

My career blossomed with the release of The Itsy Bitsy Spider, an extension of the original rhyme, which is still going strong after an amazing nineteen years. Positive response from early educators encouraged me to retell and illustrate more nursery rhymes, and I am delighted that my books are used in schools nationwide and abroad.

I have always loved children’s literature - from the wacky brilliance of Dr. Seuss to the timeless, love-filled classics of Margaret Wise Brown and a slew of others in between.  The combination of engaging text and enchanting illustrations has always been an irresistible package, fascinating me all my life.  As a child I spent hours immersed in the magical world of picture books. As an adult I try to re-create some of that magic for others to enjoy.

Looking back on my childhood in Poland, I feel that I owe my family gratitude for fostering a creative environment in our home and for instilling in me a love for books, language, art and music. For the brief time that I knew my parents their encouragement left a lasting impression and contributed greatly to the realization of my lifelong dream.

My books:

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

Haunted Party

Rufus and Friends-School Days

Rufus and Friends-Rhyme Time

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Froggie Went A-Courtin’

Shoo Fly

Row Row Row Your Boat

Jingle Bells