Illustrator Spotlight: Lori Ann Levy-Holm

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

We are thrilled to introduce Lori Ann Levy-Holm, talented illustrator and writer for children. In her day job, she teaches art to junior high school students.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to children's illustration.

I am a lucky girl who knows this is a wonderful life without watching Jimmy Stewart! Lace up your sneakers people and come along! I like to share.

What can I say? I'm that adult who has read more children's books than most of the under 8 year old population though I don't have little ears at home to listen to me. They mesmerize me. Yes . . . I read aloud to myself. The people in kidlit radiate warmth and I'm like a moth to a flame. I did NOT find that energy in the world of fine art. I found kindred spirits in the children's book industry - I have found my tribe.

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

What is the best part and worst part of teaching art to middle schoolers?

The best part of teaching this age is the same as the worst part of teaching this age . . .  they are crazy, different from one day to the next, able to laugh and cry at themselves and find simple joys all around them . . . kind of like me, except I don't tend to throw objects across the room at others . . . well, not too often.

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

You just finished an illustration mentorship with the Nevada SCBWI program. What are 1 or 2 things you learned or that changed the way you approach your work?

David Diaz helped me take a leap of faith with my work. He had the biggest impact on where my work is now. I have more internal dialog about what I want to communicate and feel more freedom to jump. Surprise yourself- you can't do that without taking risks.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing a manuscript about Susan Brownell Anthony I started during the SCBWI Nevada program under the tutelage of Jim Averbeck.  I will work on the dummy this summer when I finish teaching.

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

Are you writing more or illustrating more these days?

It's about half and half.

How do you balance the two?

Who said I balance them? I write for a while and then say @#*&    . . . .I haven't put pencil to paper in a while and then I ride that train for a while until I say . . . I need to dig up that research again and get my thoughts on paper . . . and then . . . .

It sounds like you and I work a lot alike. Who or what inspires you?

People (both dead and alive) as well as the mysteries of nature inspire me. Love of life moves me forward and sharing keeps bringing me more than I could ever give.

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

What is something most people don't know about you?

I still have sleep overs with friends. Why should kids have all the fun?

Anchovies. Yes or no?

YES! I prefer salt over sugar.

And some great news to end our interview. Lori Ann recently signed with agent Jodell Sadler. To read all about that part of her journey, check out my interview with her, How I Met My Agent.

(Bio supplied by Kidlit411 editors)

Lori Ann Levy-Holm is a life-loving, cookie-making machine who also happens to write and illustrate for children. She is also a crazed junior high school art teacher. She recently completed the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program and is represented by Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children's Literary. You can find her portfolio at 


  1. I'd never have guessed you prefer salt to sugar given how many sweet goodies you bake, Lori Ann! What fun to learn more about you...and here I thought I already knew a good bit about you, but I didn't really. :)

    Your art is totally awesome as are you! Congratulations again on getting an agent! <3

  2. Ooh, anchovies?? Really? I'm gong to have to order my own pizza.
    But honestly, these illustrations took my breath away. I want to write about those pigs! You are a source of power and amazement.

  3. Loved your spotlight, Lori Ann! I am thrilled to have you join SCL and look forward to our 'TRIBEFEST' activities in 2014 and beyond. You are a great talent and this industry is waiting for our shananigans and scribbles about lovely things!

  4. I love seeing your drawings and hearing about your working process. I can't wait to see what happens in 2014 for you. P.S. I eat cookies.

  5. The clickety-clack train of thought in Lori Ann's replies speaks to my soul, and is just how I imagine her voice in my head. XO, LALH!

  6. Lori Ann, I was a fan before, and an even bigger fan now! Thanks so much for being in our spotlight! xoxo you!!

  7. You are right, children's writers and illustrators are a wonderful tribe, and I am so glad I got to meet you through this tribe.

  8. Thank you for delightful interview, Lori Ann! I loved learning about your process- and Congratulations again on your agent signing! :)

  9. Lori Ann, your paintings are so beautiful! The impeccable perspective and unusual viewpoints really draw me in! I'd love to see your art-making process sometime. Thanks for sharing your experience from the mentoring program! You are an inspiration for me (and I know how fabulous Junior High kids are, as I taught them some years back for quite a few years…you gotta have a sense of humor!) Thanks again.


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