Children’s Author & Illustrator
Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner
Travels from: New York, NY

“Amazing, indeed: American readers will come away both proud of what the country has to offer and eager to visit the sites in person.”  – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Chris Soentpiet (pronounced “soon-pete”) is an illustrator and author of children’s books. He also enjoys illustrating books by other authors, which has taken his imagination on many exciting adventures!

Chris was was born in South Korea. When he was eight-years-old, he and his sister were adopted by the Soentpiet family, and moved to Hawaii. Much later, while doing research for his book Peacebound Trains, he had the opportunity to return to South Korea and visit his biological siblings for the first time since he was adopted.

Chris studied Fine Arts and Education at Pratt Institute in New York City. There he developed his passion for painting by illustrating children’s books. Since then, his work has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Houston Chronicle and Newsweek.

Chris's Featured Titles

Amazing Places

Lee & Low Books |

In this collection of original poems, acclaimed anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins brings together fourteen selections that celebrate through poetic imagery some of the amazingly diverse places in our nation. These include Denali National Park, the Oneida Nation Museum, San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Grand Canyon, the Ringling Circus Museum, Harlem, the Liberty Bell, Fenway Park, and more. The poems as a whole take readers on an exciting multiethnic travelogue around the United States and encourage a positive appreciation of our country’s historical, environmental, and cultural heritage. The inspiring and insightful poems were created by some of the best-known authors writing for children, including Alma Flor Ada, Jaime Adoff, Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Medina, and Linda Sue Park. Captivating illustrations by award-winning illustrators Chris Soentpiet and Christy Hale feature well-researched settings that infuse the poems with vibrant life and atmosphere. Readers of all ages will want to visit each amazing place again and again.

Amazing Faces

Lee & Low Books |

An anthology of universal poems focusing on the human experience–emotions, perceptions, and understandings–as expressed by poets of diverse heritage and reflected in illustrations featuring people of all ages and backgrounds.

Amazing, your face. Amazing.

Whatever we feel-whether happy or sad, excited or wishful, proud or lonely-our faces mirror our emotions. In this contemporary yet timeless collection, sixteen evocative poems are brought to life in diverse and detailed faces that reveal the universal feelings we all share. Girls and boys, women and men invite us to experience their world, understand their lives, and find the connections that bring us together.

Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins gathers these insightful works from an impressive array of authors, including Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, Pat Mora, Carole Boston Weatherford, Janet S. Wong, Jane Yolen, and more. Glowing illustrations created by Chris Soentpiet infuse the verses with atmosphere and exquisite settings. Readers of all ages will want to feast their eyes on these captivating poems and pictures again and again.


Philomel Books |

When Ming arrives in San Francisco after the long boat journey from China, his older brothers waste no time warning him: “Chinese should not go outside Chinatown.” But Ming risks doing just that, and when he meets Patrick, he knows the young Irish boy has a kind heart, and begins a remarkable friendship that brings their two very different communities together.

Illustrated in Chris Soentpiet’s richly detailed watercolor paintings, this long-awaited follow-up to the award-winning Coolies helps to tell the precious, rare story of the first Chinese immigrants and their pursuit of the American Dream.


Puffin Books |

Shek marvels at the new world as he and his brother, Little Wong, arrive in California. Along with hundreds of other workers, the brothers are going to build a great railroad across the West. They plan to save enough money so that their mother and little brothers can join them in America. But as days grow into months, they endure many hardships-exhausting work, discrimination, and treacherous avalanches. Inspired by actual events, this story reveals the harsh truth about life for the Chinese railroad workers in 1865, while celebrating their perseverance and bravery.


Picturing the World

In this assembly presentation Chris uses plenty of visuals to give the viewers an insight into the process of creating his award-winning picture books. A fun drawing demonstration and time for Q&A will follow. In addition, his books are great tools to teach children about other cultures, tolerance, respect of community and self.


Beyond Written Words”

Chris Soentpiet and his wife Yin will conduct joint assembly presentations plus autographing. This author and illustrator team will discuss how they collaborated on the making of their award-winning books. They emphasize the importance of hard work in the book making process of both words and art. A drawing demonstration and time for Q&A will follow.


Chris’s Photo Gallery

Resources for Teachers

Chris’s Craft Page

Bookmark Download

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, 1996
International Reading Award Winner: 1996, 2000, 2002
Jane Adams Award, 2000
Parents Choice Gold Award, 2001

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

Similar Authors

Children’s Author
Children’s Author & Illustrator
Picture Book Illustrator
Children’s Author & Illustrator
Bestselling Children’s Author & Illustrator

Interested in hosting this author?
Send us a message and an A|U Agent will return to you ASAP!