Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2020 Conference Faculty: Don Tate

Meet the faculty of the 2020 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Don Tate, Author/Illustrator

Don Tate is an award-winning illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, including CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER (Peachtree, 2019); NO SMALL POTATOES (2018); WHOOSH! LONNIE JOHNSON’S SUPER-SOAKING STREAM OF INVENTIONS (Charlesbridge, 2016); many others. He is also the author of POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON (Peachtree,2015); IT JES’ HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW (Lee & Low Books, 2102), both books are Ezra Jack Keats award winners, and most recently, and the forthcoming WILLIAM STILL AND HIS FREEDOM STORIES: FATHER OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (Peachtree, 2020). Don is a founding host of the The Brown Bookshelf –a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers; and a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

Don Tate
Don Tate

What attracted you to children’s books?

I was working at an educational publisher, Perfection Learning, where I fell in love with children’s publishing. As an exhibitor, I traveled to library conferences and met librarians. I loved the idea of using my art to advance children’s literacy.

What’s the best part of your job?

Spending my day doing what I love to do, what I am good at, and knowing that my work helps children.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling all of the non-author-y stuff that keeps me from doing the work I need to do.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

Cynthia Leitich Smith once told me, “You can write. So write.” I had no idea, but I took her advice and here I am!

Come see Don Tate at the 2020 Austin SCBWI conference, May 2-3, 2020