Recently, I had to update my personal bio. For me, writing a bio is difficult — you gotta brag and stuff. Anyway, here's the updated version which I'll soon post to my neglected-since-I-discovered-blogging website:
Don Tate is the award-winning illustrator/author of more than 25 trade and educational books for children. With a bold, dynamic style, Don's oil and acrylic paintings bring to life the pages of the children's books he illustrates. This self-trained painter and digital illustrator has demonstrated extraordinary range in style and medium — each book possessing a distinctive style of it's own.
Sure as Sunrise: Stories of Bruh Rabbit and his Walkin' Talkin' Friends (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) received starred reviews from Booklist Magazine as well as School Library Journal. It also received a 2004 Aesop Accolades award, and a Texas Bluebonnet Award, 2006 - 2007. School Library Journal said, "...Tate captures the personality of each of the characters, as well as the humor inherent in these stories. Varying perspectives keep the action moving."
Summer Sun Risin' (Lee & Low Books, 2002) was honored by the Bank Street College of Education as "Best Children's Books of the Year for 2002." It also received a Children's Crown Award, 2003 by the National Christian School Association Master List. Publisher's Weekly says, "...the pictures will immediately engage readers."
Don is also the illustrator of Say Hey: A Song of Willie Mays (Jump at the Sun, 2000). This book, the first trade picture book of his career was praised by Publisher's Weekly, who said, "...Tate's sharp-edged pictures boast vivid, sparkling colors and a vibrant immediacy, ideal for the subject." It was also named a Child Magazine suggested title.
His other trade picture books include, Black All Around! (Lee & Low Books); The Hidden Feast (August House, 2006); The Legend of the Valentine (Zondervan, 2002), which is a Christian Bookseller's Association best seller.
In addition to illustrating, Don has recently begun to write. It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Taught Himself to Draw is a Lee & Low New Voices honor winner. He's had various written pieces published in the newspaper, and writes several internet weblogs. The Austin Chronicle described one of his blogs as: "...an articulate and funny voice, a father and husband who writes about the black community and offers cartoons with more insight and humor than any commentator in town." Don has various picture book manuscripts in the works.
Currently, he is creating illustrations for three picture books. Zoom (tentative title, Harper Collins) is a novelty pop-up book; Ron on a Mission (tentative title, Dial Books for Children) is a picture book about astronaut Ron McNair; The Farmer (tentative title, Paraclete Press) is a Christian title written by National Book Award winner Walter Wangerin.
Don has been a featured illustrator/speaker/exhibitor at various literary festivals, including the Texas Book Festival; The Dallas Children's Book and Literary Festival, and such conferences as: The International Reading Association; The National Alliance of Black School Educators. He speaks at schools, public libraries and writing conferences, including the Texas Writer's League; Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators; Pathways to Literacy Conferences (International Institute of Literacy Learning).
Articles about or quoting Don, or his books, have been featured in The New York Times Children's Book Review; Black Issues Book Review; School Library Journal Blog; The Writer's Institute (upcoming); The Austin American-Statesman and Des Moines Register newspapers. Other outlets of note include highlights on Cynsations, Cynthia Leitich Smith's children's literary blog; African-American Children's Book Writers & Illustrators; News Channel 8, Des Moines Iowa, Leading The Way TV segment. He was also featured on author Angela Medearis' Angela's Notebook, a 30-minute children's television program featuring award-winning children's book authors and illustrators.
In addition to children's books, Don also licenses his art to product manufacturers. KIDZ is a line of juvenile bed and bathroom products that includes wallpaper, light switches, wall art and drawer knobs. He also has a line of children's textile/fabric available at specialty fabric shops, which feature his designs. My Peepz, a group of African American characters, is marketed to 'tweeners and has been a hit in the calendar market.
Don earned an AAA degree from Des Moines Area Community College. He has worked as a publication designer for the Perfection Learning Corporation, an educational publishing company where he won various design and illustration awards through the Iowa Art Director's Association. In addition, he was the art director at an advertising and market research firm, and a graphic artist at a print shop. He also flipped burgers in high school and swept floors at the mall.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Don currently resides in Austin, Texas where he works full-time as an illustrator/graphics reporter for the Austin American Statesman.
Don is husband to Tammy Diggs-Tate, an award-winning graphic designer, and father to two adult daughters, one son and a grandson. In his spare time, Don is a gym-rat, having competed (in better fit days) in natural, drug-free bodybuilding.