I was born in Toledo, Ohio on January 31, 1950 to Frank and Inez Campbell Fleming. On December 31, 1954 my sister, Rochelle, was born.

We had a TV but spent very little time watching television. It was more fun to play with our friends out of doors. We'd organize games of tag, run races, or ride our bikes.

My Dad built furniture in his basement workshop. I shared his space and spent hours in the workshop making things out of papier-mâché and wood. I also liked to paint and draw, particularly night scenes, using a crayon resist technique.

When I wasn't playing or making things I was busy reading. I liked stories about the pioneers. Often my friends and I would act out these stories.

In high school I took lots of art classes and won several art awards.

After high school I went to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At Kendall I met my husband, David, who is also an artist.

We married the year after graduation and began to work at a variety of art jobs. Soon we found that we preferred to be freelance artists as opposed to staff artists. We bought nothing on credit, that way we owed no money and were able to work for ourselves doing what we enjoyed. We taught ourselves all sorts of skills from carpentry to furniture building.

In 1979 our daughter, Indigo, was born. I'd collected picture books since art school, but after Indy was born I was reading picture books daily. We'd haul stacks of picture books home from the library. I felt making books was something I had to do.

I experimented with different styles of writing, different art techniques until I found my style, my technique.

In 1991 IN THE TALL, TALL GRASS was published by Henry Holt and Company. It was written in terse verse and illustrated with pulp paintings. The companion book, IN THE SMALL, SMALL POND, was published in 1994 and was a Caldecott Honor Book.

I love making books. This fall, twelve years after my first book came out, my twelfth book, Buster, was published by Henry Holt.

Life is good.



last updated July 31, 2010

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