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Ken Stark

Born: N/A
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Stark grew up in Kankakee. He paints in rural Kankakee.

Biography: Ken Stark is an award-winning book illustrator, editorial cartoonist, painter, and freehand graphic artist who has mostly lived and worked in rural Wisconsin and Illinois. The lifelong artist, now of southwestern Wisconsin, is largely self-taught. ''Oh Brother!'', the first book Ken both wrote and illustrated--gives a true glimpse of Ken and his brother's 1950s country life in rural Illinois which fostered their art careers. ''Orphan Train'' (by Verla Kay), the third inter-generational history-based book he illustrated, follows three orphans as they ride the orphan train west from New York City. Ken illustrated the book ''Orphan Train'' as he felt a kinship with the children in the book. As a young child, Ken stayed five months at a children's home when his mother was ill.The first book Ken illustrated was ''Growing Seasons''. It was written by his former long-time neighbor Elsie Lee Splear and was named an International Reading Associations Teachers' Choice, a Smithsonian Magazine Best Book of the Year, a CCBC Children's Choice, a Society of Midland Authors Honor Book, a Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Children's Title for Illustration, and was chosen for the Illinois State Historical Library collection of history of 20th Century farm life. The paintings from Ken Stark's books have been shown in museums and galleries and are available for future exhibitions.Ken paints in rural Kankakee, Illinois and in Southwestern Wisconsin where he and his wife have reconstructed an 1800's log house.

  • Growing Seasons Smithsonian Notable Book, International Reading Association Teachers Choice Book, Society of Midland Authors Honor Book, Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Children's Book for Illustration
  • Marching to Appomattox Beacon of Freedom Award, Williamsburg Regional Library and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2011

Primary Literary Genre(s): Illustrator; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Children


Selected Titles

Growing Seasons
ISBN: 0399234608 OCLC: New York :

Putnam Juvenile New York : 2000

The author portrays a vivid picture of the life she and her sisters led growing up on a farm in the early part of the 20th century.

Marching to Appomattox :
ISBN: 9780147514493 OCLC: 213765844

G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York : ©2009.

Tells the tale of the seven day campaign that culminated in the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox and the end of the Civil War.

Oh, Brother!
ISBN: 0399237666 OCLC: 47785664

G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York : ©2003.

Set on a farm in rural Illinois in 1952, two brothers, age nine and ten, turn their everyday, simple lives into challenging adventures thanks to their active imaginations.

Orphan train /
ISBN: 0399236139 OCLC: 47658938

G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York : ©2003.

Illustrations and rhyming text tell the story of a sister and two brothers who become orphans, are taken in, and make a journey aboard an orphan train to separate new homes.

Seeing the elephant :
ISBN: 9780374380243 OCLC: 61652701

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York : 2007.

Ten-year-old Izzie wants to join the war like his older brothers and go into battle against the Confederate Army, but when he meets a Rebel soldier in a hospital, he begins to see things differently.