|Name:||Kristin Joy Pratt Serafini|
|Birthday:||21 March 1976|
1992 A Walk in the Rainforest|
1994 A Swim through the Sea
1996 A Fly in the Sky
2001 Salamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal
Kristin Pratt-Serafini has been interested in art since she was in kindergarten. In fifth grade, she started taking after school group art lessons at a local art supply store. In middle school, when her family moved from Plymouth, Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, she found a new art teacher who gave her weekly private lessons. Her two other main interests were books and nature.
She loved reading, and soon learned to like writing too, when her eighth grade English teacher explained that writing was like drawing with words. She also had a great biology teacher who taught her to love learning about plants and animals. In 9th grade (1991), she got a chance to put these three interests together.
That winter, her English teacher gave the class an assignment to develop their own projects. Each student's project had to incorporate reading or writing in some way, and the student had to spend at least 10 hours on it. The projects were due at the end of the quarter, 10 weeks away.
Well, Kristin knew she wanted to incorporate art into her project somehow. And, since she had done some illustrations for the book Watership Down for her fall project, she thought she might like to try to write her own story. The next thing she had to do was come up with a topic. A few days later, she arrived in biology class after lunch, where they were studying the rainforest. That day, her teacher showed the class a movie about clear-cutting. Kristin sat there and watched the bulldozers destroy the rainforest, and felt very small and helpless, since she didn't think she could help save these amazing places.
After feeling depressed and small for a while (she was only 14), she decided that this attitude wasn't helping the rainforest at all. She decided instead to see what she could do to help. At that time, Kristin's mom, Mrs. Pratt, was teaching kindergarten. They were studying the rainforest too. Kristin thought that if she made an alphabet book about the rainforest for her mom's kindergarteners, then at least 20 more kids would be a little bit more aware of the interesting animals living in that part of the world.
It was a small contribution, but it was a start. So Kristin created the alphabet story A Walk in the Rainforest for her 9th grade English project. Instead of working 10 hours on the book, she spent over 100 hours. She enjoyed it immensely, and even missed the school Christmas dance to finish some illustrations. After the 10 week term was up, she brought her project to school and presented it to her class.
Her teacher, Dr. Fisher, suggested that she publish it, and her parents thought that was a good idea too. But Kristin had never tried to publish anything before. Where should she start? How do you publish a book?
The first thing she did was copyright the words and the illustrations. Next, she started to look for a publisher. While she was researching possible publishers, Kristin got a call from her Aunt Kim, who owned a bookstore in Northern Michigan.
Kim suggested that she look into DAWN Publications, because they were publishing some pretty neat nature books. Kristin thought it was worth a shot, so she wrote a letter to the editors of DAWN, and sent a copy of her story, and slides of her illustrations. A few weeks later, the folks at DAWN wrote back, saying that they were very interested in the idea. A Walk in the Rainforest was published in the spring of 1992, allowing many more children beyond her mom's kindergarten to learn about the rainforest.
Kristin was then able to donate much of the profits from the sale of this book to The Children's Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica.
What She's Up To These Days
After completing her first book, Kristin decided that she wanted to be a children's book author and illustrator when she grew up. Then, she figured since she already had one book published, she might as well get on with it (considering she wouldn't be able to vote for another 4 years anyway, and wasn't planning on ever growing up...). Kristin has continued to work with DAWN Publications, and has published 4 books with them so far.
She graduated from Principia College in June of 1998 with a B.A. in Studio Art, and a minor in Art History. Shortly afterward, she got married to a graphic designer named Gabriel Serafini. They currently live in St. Louis, with their dog, two cats, and five fish. Kristin has also illustrated two self-published books by different authors. She is presently her next book with DAWN, which will be about the Sonoran Desert.