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Jenni Desmond b.1984 is an award-winning picture book maker.

She is the illustrator or author/illustrator of 15 picture books including The Blue Whale and Albert's Tree and and has been translated into over 20 languages since her first book Red Cat Blue Cat came out in 2012.  

Jenni has a passion for illustration and for funny heartfelt stories.  She doesn't think picture books should be limited to children and hopes hers will also appeal to older people with youthful minds.

Jenni mostly works on books using watercolour, ink, acrylic paint, crayons, drypoint and photoshop.  When writing her stories, she normally gets her ideas from remembering how things felt as a child and from the things that happened when she was little.  When writing her non fiction books Jenni spends many months reading and learning about the animals to become as knowledgable as possible, before checking everything she has written with an expert. 


She sometimes also enjoys making wobbly clay pots, printmaking and textile designs as well as painting artwork to hang on walls or in other places.  She likes to experiment and do new things to keep her work fresh and her practice fun, and is always on the lookout for unusual textures and landscapes and animals. 

Jenni lives in east London UK with her husband who is an architect and their young daughter Josephine.

 For more information here are some things - - -



(A discussion about Migration, climate change and motherhood: 2019)


(A discussion about her work, inspiration, and being an illustrator versus an author: 2017)


(A discussion about her work and daily routine: 2017)


(A discussion about her work and about creating The Blue Whale: 2017)


(A blog post about the Sendak Fellowship: 2016)


(A discussion about The Blue Whale, and the publisher: 2015)


(A discussion about her work and becoming an illustrator: 2012)


(How Jenni made her very first picture book, Red Cat Blue Cat: 2012)


(A discussion with Flow Magazine)




(The Guardian: How to draw a sunset)



(Teacher Notes: Migration)


(The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast activity page)





Nominated - CILIP Kate Greenway Medal'19 (Migration)

Sendak Fellowship recipient '16

Winner - A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book '16 (The Polar Bear)

Winner  - Prix Des Incorruptibles '16 (Red Cat Blue Cat - France)

Winner - National Prize for Reading/ Premio Nati per Leggere '19 (The Blue Whale - Italy)

Winner - Vlag en Wimpel '16 (The Blue Whale - Netherlands)

Winner - Leipziger Lesekompass '17 (Albert's Tree - Germany)

Winner - Junior Design Awards - Best Emerging Talent: Illustrator '15 (The First Slodge)

Winner - Batchelder Award'14 (Mister Orange)

Winner - The Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award'13 (Red Cat Blue Cat)

ShortlistedGerman Literature Prize '19 (Migration - Germany)

Shortlisted - Red Clover Award Vermont '17 (The Blue Whale)

Shortlisted - Sakura Medal Japan '17 (The Blue Whale)

Shortlisted - English 4-11 Picture Book Awards '16 (The First Slodge)

Honour Award - Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award '16 (The Blue Whale)

Honour Award - EURIKA! '18 (The Elephant)

Bronze Award - Prima Baby Awards '16 (The First Slodge)

Longlisted - UK Literary Association Awards '16 (The First Slodge)

Longlisted - North Somerset Teacher Book Award '16 (The First Slodge)


Walker Books (UK)


Simon & Schuster/Little Simon (USA)

Papyrus (USA)

Oxford University Press (UK)

National Portrait Gallery (UK)


Little Tiger Books (UK)

Kyle Books (UK)

Fuji Sangyo Stationary (Japan)

Enchanted Lion Books (USA)

CardMix (UK)

Camden Graphics (UK)

Candlewick Press (USA)

Bloomsbury (UK)

Blue Apple Books (USA)




Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition (New York)

Krumulus bookshop/gallery - The Polar Bear solo exhibition (Berlin: Germany)

Summer Exhibition: Royal Academy of Art (London)

Affordable Art Fair (London)

The Poundshop: London Design Week/ KK Outlet/ ICA (London)

Netil House - solo exhibition (London)

Lo Sguardo Obliquo (Bari: Italy)

Buecherpiraten - artist of the year (Lubeck: Germany)

A-side B-side Gallery: Call of the Wild/ A Long Way From Home/House of Tigers (London)

Telling Tales: Avery Contemporary Art (Kent)





MA Childrens Book Illustration (Cambridge School of Art ARU), 2011

BA English and Art History (Sussex University), 2006