Book Cover Images
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 nineteen 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.
Matt alters his presentation depending on the age of the audience, so it works well for all ages. He also loves speaking to grown-ups.
Any size audience is fine with Matt, as long as everyone can hear and see the slides.
Matt also does an illustration workshop. The workshop is for one class at a time (25 kids or fewer), and takes around 50 minutes. During the workshop, he’ll have the students go through all the steps of illustrating a story. This works best when all students involved have already seen his presentation. One good way to do this is to have one presentation in the morning for three classes, then three workshops, one for each class.
BOOK SALES AND AUTOGRAPHING: If you want Matt to sign books for teachers and students during his visit, here's how to ORDER BOOKS directly from his publisher at a special school discount. Or as an alternative, some schools order books through a local bookstore, which seems to work out great for everyone because a) it's less work for you, and b) it helps local business. If you choose to go that route, we’re happy to provide an order form for the store to use.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS:
-Talk it up! An author-illustrator visit is so much more effective when the students have already read the author's books. Matt has done a few visits where the kids had no clue who he was, or even that they were going to see an author that day. And while those visits have gone well, it's just not the same. There's something special that happens when a kid meets the person who wrote and/or illustrated a book he or she really likes. It makes the day very exciting and memorable.
-Make it fun! Since a few of Matt’s books have a baseball theme, maybe you can let the kids wear baseball caps that day (even if they're Yankee fans!). Or maybe the art teacher can have the kids do some book-related project in anticipation of his visit. Be creative!