Illustrator Spotlight: Mira Reisberg

© Mira Reisberg


Kidlit411 had the honor of interviewing Dr. Mira Reisberg, affectionately known as The Picture Book Whisperer. Mira is an award winning picture book illustrator as well as a writer with over 26 years of experience. She is also a literary agent and the founder of the Children's Book Academy.  


What were you like at school? Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was a bit of a terror at school. Home life was a little on the tortured side and like many immigrant kids, I started working and earning an income at a very young age. So I acted out at school and was famous for being the “class clown.” I was also the only girl to ever get the strap. I’m pretty sure I was pretty bored at school and that also contributed to my misbehaving.



Family Portrait © Mira Reisberg

Were you good at English?

I come from a working class non-English speaking background and was the one assigned to write the family correspondence. Even though we were poor, our parents provided books and art supplies. Our creativity and intelligence were definitely encouraged and celebrated. I would sleep in the bath with my blankets so I could read all night and not keep my twin sister awake. I also read the dictionary as often as I could, little knowing how handy that would become later on and was slightly famous in my elementary school for starting an essay with a question. Funny the things you remember.



One of several books illustrated by Mira
Another of her books


What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment, I’m working on several projects- one is a haiku book, another is a biography. Mostly I work on my client’s work and edit and add to new instructor courses for the Children’s Book Academy. I am phasing out of teaching to focus on agenting but am setting up other fabulous folk to teach using the same highly interactive, content rich, and fun-filled structure.


© Mira Reisberg



Do you write everyday?

I’m a compulsive creative who loves to create whether it’s writing, editing, art-making, creating courses, making books, or creating community. In fact, I’m one of those for whom creativity provides great meaning and purpose. I’m also a wicked overachiever, which isn’t always such a good thing. I completed my PhD in 3 years with a 4.0 GPA, published 3 major articles, and wrote and illustrated a 360 page dissertation on kid’s books. I also won a teaching award at the same time. After discovering that being a professor wasn’t for me, I started my own online school, the Children’s Book Academy, where teaching and learning can happen in a much more authentic way.



Fear, Doubt & Insecurity (Created for Hero's Art Journey course) © Mira Reisberg


What advice would you give to other writers?

I’d advise other writers to read, read, read. Write, write, write. And revise, revise, revise. Join SCBWI. Join or form a critique group. And of course, take one of our courses like the upcoming interactive Craft and Pleasures of Writing Poetry for Kids e-course with the brilliant Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. We are designing it so that it will help all writers whether they are interested in rhyme or not. Sudipta is the author of over 30 published books including titles like When Chicks Run Wild, Hampire, Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, and Snoring Beauty. So she’s not only super brilliant but also very funny too. 


We’ll be doing a free webinar together May 12th at 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight time, which you all are invited to right here and for 411 folk, here’s a link with super secret specials AND a payment plan for this year’s e-Course. xoxo 


To find out about upcoming Children's Book Academy courses, free webinars, and other goodies, please join our tribe here.





Dr. Mira Reisberg is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, as well as a published writer, art director, editor, former professor and children’s book mentor with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Following the success of many of her Children’s Book Academy students, she founded Hummingbird Literary. You can find her at The Children's Book Academy and Hummingbird Literary (she is currently not accepting unsolicited submissions).

6 comments:

  1. What a fascinating background Mira has. I can definitely relate to the immigrant past and parental encouragement of intelligence and creativity, though I was much more laid back in class (I never acted out because I was always too busy reading). ;)

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    1. Thank you Teresa. I read every chance I could but it was when I wasn't reading that I got into trouble. I wonder how common that escaping into kids books is for immigrant kids?

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  2. Wow! I don't think overachiever is a strong enough descriptor! Maybe Super Mira would come a little closer. Nice to hear more about you, Mira.

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  3. Thanks for the interview, Mira! Phew, you're busy!

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  4. Mira, I'm really drawn to your emotive art and illustrations. Thanks for joining us at KL411!

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  5. Great interview, Mira! :) I'm not sure how you do it all and still stay sane! WOW!

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