In this month’s Author Highlight, we will be talking about Byron Barton.

Byron Barton was an American author and illustrator of books for very young children. He was born on September 8, 1930 in Pawtucket, R.I.

Just before Barton entered fourth grade, his family relocated to Los Angeles, where Barton found that his true interest in art blossomed when he was given time to “play with paints” at school.

This passion inspired him to pursue art education at the Los Angeles City College, and he later received a scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute. Barton was drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean War. Upon his discharge, Barton returned to his studies at Chouinard in 1953 and completed his art training there in 1956.

He continued to work as an ad designer and artist before segueing into children’s book illustration. His first book contract was to illustrate A Girl Called Al, a novel by Constance C. Greene, published by Velma Varner, director of children’s books at Viking Press, in 1969. In 1971, Seabury published Barton’s first self-authored title, the wordless picture book Elephant.

Among Barton’s best-known titles are Airport, Building a House, Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, I Want to Be an Astronaut, and the series My Car; My Bus; My Bike; and My House. Over the years Barton’s Greenwillow and HarperCollins titles have received numerous accolades including six ALA Notable Children’s Books citations; a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books selection for Where’s Al? (1972); and two Reading Rainbow picks.

Barton died at his home in Florida on June 3, 2023, at the age of 92, leaving behind a series of beautifully illustrated picture books that are sure to be appreciated for years to come.



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