Melissa Sweet has illustrated over 100 books for children, and her exuberant watercolor, gouache, collage, and assembly art is full of found objects, rich textures, and eye-catching details. As she writes, “All of my work is done by hand. Working this way is slower, but it allows for serendipity and being surprised by what’s happening in the process.”
Her illustrations have graced beginning readers, such as the popular Pinky and Rex books by James Howe (Simon & Schuster), picture books such as How To Read A Book by Kwame Alexander (HarperCollins), and poetry collections such as Firefly July by Paul Janeczko (Candlewick). But she’s best known for her extensively researched, visually creative nonfiction projects. Among them, A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams received a Caldecott Honor and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, and The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus received a Caldecott Honor and a Sibert Medal. (Both by Jen Bryant, both published by Eerdman’s.)
She has also written and illustrated picture books of her own. Carmine: A Little More Red was a New York Times Best Illustrated book. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade won the Cook Prize, a Sibert Medal, an Orbis Pictus Award, and a Charlotte Zolotow Award. And Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White was a New York Times bestseller and garnered an Orbis Pictus Award and a Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor. (All Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) She is the recipient of the 2019 Eric Carle Honors Award for an Artist.