Kevin Henkes was born in Racine, Wis. in 1960 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. One of four children in his family, Henkes grew up with aspirations of being an artist. As a junior in high school, one of Henkes's teachers awakened his interest in writing. Falling in love with both writing and drawing, Henkes realized that he could do both at the same time as a children's book author and illustrator. At the age of 19, Henkes went to New York City to get his first book, All Alone, published. Since that time, he has written and illustrated dozens of picture books including Chrysanthemum, Protecting Marie, and A Weekend with Wendell. A recurring character in several of Henkes's books is Lily, an outrageous, yet delightful, individualist. Lily finds herself the center of attention in the books Chester's Way, Julius, the Baby of the World, and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse. A Weekend With Wendell was named Children's Choice Book by the Children's Book Council in 1986. He recieved the Elizabeth Burr Award for Words of Stone in 1993. Owen was named a Caldicott Honor in 1994. The Year of Billy Miller was named a Newbery Honor book in 2014.