Matt Tavares was born in Boston, and grew up surrounded by books and reading. From the time he was very young, his mother read to him every night, and his family made countless trips to the public library. Years later, as a studio art major at Bates College, he rediscovered his love for picture books, and decided to try to make his own.
For his senior thesis project, Matt wrote and illustrated a story called Sebastian's Ball, about a boy who caught a magic foul ball at a Boston Red Sox game. Three years later, after much revision, Sebastian's Ball became Zachary's Ball, Matt's first published picture book. Zachary's Ball went on to win a Massachusetts Book Award Honor, and was named one of Yankee Magazine's 40 Classic New England Children's Books.
Since then, Matt has published eighteen more books and has won several awards, including three Parents' Choice Gold Awards, an Orbis Pictus Honor, and two ALA Notable books. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of American Illustration, the Brandywine River Museum, and the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art.
When Matt's not working in his studio on his latest book project, he travels the country speaking (and drawing) at schools, libraries, conferences, and bookstores. He has presented at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Eric Carle Museum, the White House Easter Egg Roll, and he's even done a few book signings at Fenway Park.
Matt lives in Maine with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters.
Talks and Topics
Story Time: Reading from selected title, followed by a presentation on how to make a picture book (Grades K-1)
Making Picture Books: A Presentation on the work that goes into creating a book, focusing on the process of writing, rewriting, revising, researching and sketching. (Grades 2-5)
Becoming an Author-Illustrator: How Matt Tavares turned his childhood love of drawing into a rewarding career as a children’s book creator (Grades 3 and up, also works for adult audiences)
Picture Book Illustration Workshop: a hands-on interactive project for smaller groups (1 or 2 classes) , often used as a follow-up activity after students have seen Matt’s presentation. (Grades 2 and up)
Creating Red & Lulu: a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of a story from idea to finished book. (All ages)
Creating Growing Up Pedro: A behind-the-scenes look at Matt’s process of creating a picture book biography, from the Dominican Republic, to Fenway Park, to his studio in Maine. (Grades 2 and up, as well as adult educators and writers)
All presentations end with a drawing demonstration and question time.
Check Matt’s Availability
Previous & Upcoming Events:
NerdCamp - Michigan
Book Expo - New York, NY
Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival - Seward, NE
Pasco Lecture Series - ME
Massachusetts School Library Association Annual Conference
Bates College - ME
International Literacy Association - TX
Harbor Springs Festival of Books
StoryQuest Writers’ Conference - MA
Museum of American Illustration - NYC
In the News:
“Whittle School Hosts Author-Illustrator Matt Tavares” - DC Area Mom’s Blog (Feb 2019)
“Talking with Matt Tavares, Author of Growing Up Pedro” - Sports Illustrated Kids (Mar 2015)
“Wherein Matt Tavares Visits and Makes a Great Impression” - Reederama (May 2018)
“A Conversation with Author-Illustrator Matt Tavares” - Latinxs in Kid Lit (Mar 2016)