New York Times Bestselling Author
Award Winning Artist & Illustrator
Travels from: Portland, ME

“Tavares’s full-bleed spreads alternate with sepia-toned spot drawings, all beautifully arranged in this old-fashioned but evergreen tribute.” — The New York Times

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator 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 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 baseball 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 created over twenty more books. Three were named ALA Notable books, three won Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, and twelve were chosen for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art exhibit. His artwork has been exhibited at the Brandywine River Museum, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Mazza Museum.

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 White House Easter Egg Roll, and he’s even done a few book signings at Fenway Park.

Matt's Featured Titles

Dasher Can’t Wait for Christmas

Candlewick |

Matt Tavares’s sequel to the New York Times best-selling Dasher is a joyful ode to helping others—and another holiday classic in the making.

“If you ever get lost, just look for the North Star.”

With only one sleep left before Christmas Eve, Dasher can’t contain her excitement for her favorite holiday. With the sound of Christmas carols on the breeze and twinkling lights radiating from a nearby city, she sneaks off to visit the festivities. But as night deepens and snow starts to fall, Dasher realizes she can no longer spot the North Star in the sky to lead her home. Will the kindness of a child, an unexpected gift, and a dose of Christmas spirit get her back in time to help guide Santa’s sleigh? The New York Times best-selling creator of Dasher has crafted another delightful journey featuring everyone’s favorite reindeer doe, in a story full of giving, joy, and holiday magic.

Hoops: A Graphic Novel

Candlewick |
Children’s/Middle Grade

A work of fiction inspired by a true story, Matt Tavares’s debut graphic novel dramatizes the historic struggle for gender equality in high school sports.

It is 1975 in Indiana, and the Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team is in their rookie season. Despite being undefeated, they practice at night in the elementary school and play to empty bleachers. Unlike the boys’ team, the Lady Bears have no buses to deliver them to away games and no uniforms, much less a laundry service. They make their own uniforms out of T-shirts and electrical tape. And with help from a committed female coach, they push through to improbable victory after improbable victory. Illustrated in full color, this story about the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports rings with honesty, bravery, and heart.

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas

Candlewick |

Exquisitely detailed drawings by Matt Tavares embody the spirit of a magical night now in a lavish, full-size gift edition marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the classic poem.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”—written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 and published the next year in the Troy Sentinel—a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus. With gorgeous monochrome illustrations by Matt Tavares that are meticulously true to pre-Victorian times, this reissue of the holiday favorite ’Twas the Night Before Christmas Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas honors the poem’s original language in a definitive keepsake volume.

Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Candlewick |
Children’s/Middle Grade

With every step, the Tomb Guards pay homage to America’s fallen. Discover their story, and that of the unknown soldiers they honor, through resonant words and illustrations.

Keeping vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, are the sentinel guards, whose every step, every turn, honors and remembers America’s fallen. They protect fellow soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, making sure they are never alone. To stand there—with absolute precision, in every type of weather, at every moment of the day, one in a line uninterrupted since midnight July 2, 1937—is the ultimate privilege and the most difficult post to earn in the army. Everything these men and women do is in service to the Unknowns. Their standard is perfection.

Exactly how the unnamed men came to be entombed at Arlington, and exactly how their fellow soldiers have come to keep vigil over them, is a sobering and powerful tale, told by Jeff Gottesfeld and luminously illustrated by Matt Tavares—a tale that honors the soldiers who honor the fallen.

Growing Up Pedro: Candlewick Biographies: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues

Candlewick |
Children’s/Middle Grade/YA

“Masterfully depicts, with quick verse and beautiful illustrations, the world in which the two siblings came of age. . . . A wonderful introduction to a truly special player.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

Before Pedro Martínez pitched the Red Sox to a World Series championship, before he was named to the All-Star team eight times, before he won the Cy Young three times, he was a kid from a place called Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic. Pedro loved baseball more than anything, and his older brother Ramon was the best pitcher he’d ever seen. He’d dream of the day he and his brother could play together in the major leagues — and here, Matt Tavares tells the story of how that dream came true.


Story Time (grades k-1)

Reading from selected title, followed by a presentation on the process of creating a picture book.
Ends with a drawing demonstration and question time.


Making Picture Books (grades 1-5)

A Presentation on the work that goes into creating a book, focusing on the process of writing, rewriting,
revising, researching and sketching. Ends with a drawing demonstration and question time.


Trying Something New (grades 6 & up, great for teacher/library conferences)

Matt Tavares discusses the times in his career as an author-illustrator when he has ventured outside his comfort zone and tried something new. Whether it’s illustrating a nonfiction book for the first time, trying to illustrate a book where all the characters are cookies, or his latest challenge– creating a 224-page graphic novel, trying something new can be daunting, but always seems to push his work in unexpected directions.


The Making of Hoops, My First Graphic Novel (grades 3 and up)

Author-illustrator Matt Tavares offers a look inside the process of creating his first middle grade graphic novel, Hoops, from idea to finished book, and shares how his initial idea for a nonfiction picture book about a girls’ high school basketball team evolved into something completely different.


Picture Book Illustration Workshop (grades 1-5)

The workshop is for 1 or 2 classes at a time (50 kids or fewer), and takes around 45 minutes. During the workshop, Matt will 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.

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Honors, Awards & Recognition

New England Book Award
New York Times
 Bestseller list
USA Today Bestseller list
Indiebound National Bestseller list
3 ALA Notable Books
12 Society of Illustrators The Original Art exhibit selections
6 Lupine Awards (Maine)
3 Massachusetts Book Award Honors
Starred reviews in Kirkus, Publishers’ Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, The Horn Book
California Young Reader Medal
The Audrey Geisel Friend of Military Children Award

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.

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