Happy Birthday Janell Cannon!
A love for animals, especially those that are misunderstood or neglected, lead Janell Cannon to write Stellaluna, the classic story about a young fruit bat. Stellaluna was created in 1993 by Ms. Cannon in hopes of dispelling myths and fears about bats, like people thinking they drink blood!
A few of her other favorite misunderstood animals include spiders, Komodo dragons and snakes. Some of her books include Verdi about a Python, Pinduli the Hyena and Crickwing the cockroach. Because she writes about often misunderstood animals, themes of self-image, self-acceptance and treating others with respect, often surface. Her books are fiction but are based on fact and include factual information on the animal at the end of the book.
Ms. Cannon was born in 1957 in St. Paul Minnesota where she grew up. When she finished high school she moved to California where she went to work as a graphic artist for the Carlsbad Library. While she was there she designed summer reading programs, especially about unusual animals. She now writes and illustrates books for children full time.
Much of the research the author does for her books about animals takes place in zoos, especially the San Diego Zoo. Observing the animals and talking to zoo staff about personalities, habits etc., helps her to better understand the animals. She also uses the internet to find information on the animals as well as pictures to study for her illustrations.
A naturally talented, untrained artist, she appreciates the approval of scientists and naturalists about the accuracy of her drawings of animals. She tries not to make the animals “cute” but to show as much as their natural beauty as possible. She believes that all forms of life are important and connected and she likes to highlight animals that are often forgotten in that circle.
Janell Cannon currently lives in Southern California.
Take a look at these websites for more information: