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Jenni Desmond b.1984 is an artist, illustrator and picture book maker.

She is the illustrator or author/illustrator of over 20 books and can be read in 25 languages all over the world.  Her books have been featured as a best book of the year in publications such as The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Brainpickings, and Washington Post.  In 2016 she became a Sendak Fellow, and her non-fiction book The Polar Bear was a New York Times Best Illustrated book.  She's been nominated twice for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and her debut won the Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award.


An eternal optimist, Jenni seeks beauty, humour, energy, warmth and compassion in everything and everyone she draws.  

Jenni mostly works on books using watercolour, ink, acrylic paint, crayons, drypoint and photoshop.  She sometimes also enjoys making wobbly clay pots, printmaking and textile designs as well as paintings 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.

Jenni lives in east London UK with her husband who is an architect and their two young daughters Josephine and Daphne.  When she's not in her studio, you'll find her covered in mud and plants in the garden, cycling her bike around and swapping city life for hikes down by the sea shore or up in the hills and the mountains.

 For more information here are some things - - -

(A video interview with Jane Porter about making Fourteen Wolves: 2021)

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

(A blog post about the Sendak Fellowship: 2016)

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


One World teachers notes

(CLPE Teachers Notes: One World)

(Snow Birds - parent and teacher activity kit)

(Instagram - how to draw Bunny and Dog)

(The Guardian: How to draw a sunset)

(Teacher Notes: Migration)

(The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast activity page)


Nominated - CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal'19 (Migration UK)

Nominated - CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal'22 (Fourteen Wolves UK)

Sendak Fellowship recipient '16 (USA)

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

Winner - Nautilus Book Awards '20 (Migration USA)

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 UK)

Winner - Batchelder Award'14 (Mister Orange USA)

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

Shortlisted - UK Literary Association Awards UKLA '22 (Fourteen Wolves UK)

Shortlisted - Andersen Prize '22 (Fourteen Wolves Italy)

Shortlisted - James Cropper Wainwright Prize '22 (One World UK)

Shortlisted - Royal Society Young People's Book Prize '22 (Fourteen Wolves UK)

ShortlistedGerman Literature Prize '19 (Migration - Germany)

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

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

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

Shortlisted - Le Prix du Livre Environnement '22 (Fourteen Wolves France)

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

Honour Award - EURIKA! '18 (The Elephant USA)

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

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

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


















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)

Hachette (UK)

Fuji Sangyo Stationary (Japan)

Enchanted Lion Books (USA)

CardMix (UK)

Camden Graphics (UK)

Candlewick Press (USA)

Bloomsbury (UK)

Blue Apple Books (USA)

Abrams (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

Art Foundation (Reading college) 2003





















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photos by Rita Platts 2023
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