Gabi Swiatkowska

Gabi Swiatkowska
Gabi Swiatkowska

If you’re born on this planet, you’re set for a colorful life, whether you want it or not.  I found myself in Eastern Europe, in southern Poland, in a little village with a weird name.

I don’t remember making that decision.

The first thing I remember are the crows.  Crows are to Poland what ravens are to London.  The crows would hold daily conferences right in front of my house, spreading their black selves like a carpet over the grassy field.  I’d run up to them and watch them rise like a shimmering giant, watch the sky swallow them up.

I wrote stories until it was decided that there was too much kissing going on—in the stories, of course, not in real life. I was forbidden to write any more.  I drew pictures, of princesses mostly.  As there were no objections, I kept at it all through elementary school, gymnasium, college, and right into my professional life.

While at elementary school, I really did believe I was a princess.  Not the Disney kind, but one more along the lines of a Russian folktale, the princess lost and never found, waiting patiently for the day it was officially announced.

I entered the Lyceum of Art at fourteen and discovered it was full of princesses, as well as knights.  Sometime around the third year of school it dawned on me that if I was the “lost and never found” kind of princess, there was no use waiting for the official announcement.  So I climbed on top of my wardrobe to take a look at things from a different perspective and decided it was time to go to America.

I took my dog with me.  My dog was very fond of eating toilet paper, and since we had no such commodity in Poland at the time, I figured he’d do better in America.  Plus, I couldn’t bear to leave him behind.

Gabi Swiatkowska was born in Tychy, Poland, and attended the Lyceum of Art in Bielsko-Biala, as well as the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Gabi Swiatkowska
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books
by the author

My Name Is Yoon

Helen Recorvits; Pictures by Gabi Swiatkowska
Square Fish

Getting to feel at home in a new country Yoon’s name means "shining wisdom," and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her...


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Queen on Wednesday

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On Wednesday, Thelma is bored—so she decides to become a queen. She makes the royal announcement on Thursday and chooses the royal pets on Friday. But she...


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Familiar hands tossed him gently into the winter air. Hawk flapped his wings and skimmed the earth. Then he beat his wings harder, rose, and flew over the...


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Please, Papa

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Alice was making a farm in the middle of her bedroom. She asked Mama for a pig and chickens for her farm, but when Mama didn’t have a horse, Alice turned to...


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It was Alice’s birthday, and Alice’s mama and papa took her to the zoo. They bought Alice a pet parrot, an ice cream, and a flower. “Thank you, Mama,” said...


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Kate Banks’s lyrical poetry pairs with Gabi Swiatkowska’s playful dreamlike images to create this must-have book for all children who are about to be new...


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It is Yoon’s birthday and all she wants is a jump rope so she can play with the other girls in the school yard. Instead, Yoon’s mother gives her a Korean...


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Waiting for Gregory

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The first picture book from National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt When exactly is cousin Gregory going to be born? asks little Iris. Each family...


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