Gene Barretta

Gene Barretta

Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and has worked for many years in film and television production. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania with his wife and son. 



  • Neo Leo

    A video trailer for the book, "Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci" by Gene Barretta.

  • Gene Barretta's interview on Connecticut Style

    An illustration demonstration and interview with Gene Barretta, author of Neo Leo.

  • Zoola Palooza Book Trailer

    No cages...just stages! Enjoy this fun and upbeat trailer by the creator of Zoola Palooza!

  • Timeless Thomas by Gene Barretta

    What do record players, batteries, and movie cameras have in common? All these devices were created by the man known as The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison. Edison is most famous for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, but at his landmark laboratories in Menlo Park & West Orange, New Jersey, he also developed many other staples of modern technology. Despite many failures, Edison persevered. And good for that, because it would be very difficult to go through a day without using one of his life-chang

  • Dennis Miller interviews Gene Barretta

    Dennis Miller interviews Gene Barretta, author of Timeless Thomas



  • Gene Barretta

Q & A

Where did you grow up?

Yardley, PA


What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing?

Drawing a purple elephant in crayon on the wall next to my crib.


What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book?

My love for telling stories.  I have done it through filmmaking, songwriting and now illustrating and writing.


Do you use your childhood as inspiration?

All the time – but its more about trying to keep that same sense of innocence and discovery than the actual experiences.


What books from your childhood have most influenced your work? What about adult titles?

Mainly Dr. Suess titles.  My main inspirations were movies and TV shows.


What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books?

Movies, reading, visiting historical sites, guitar, museums,


Who are a couple of your favorite author/illustrators? What is it about their work that inspires and interests you?

I love illustrators ffrom the early 1900s like N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Arthur Rackham & Rose O’Neill, plus contemporary ones like David Christiana, Nicoletta Ceccoli and Peter de Seve to name only a few.


What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors/illustrators?

Learn the value of collaboration.  And when developing your subjects try to find ones that will satisfy your personal passions and people unlike yourself.



Timeless Thomas

Gene Barretta; illustrations by Gene Barretta

What do record players, batteries, and movie cameras have in common? All these devices were created by the man known as The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison.Edison is most...


Zoola Palooza

Gene Barretta; illustrations by Gene Barretta

The all-animal touring concert group Zoola Palooza has come to town. With a motley crew of animals playing a variety of instruments, homographs abound (homographs are words that are spelled...


Dear Deer

Gene Barretta; Illustrated by the author

Aunt Ant goes on a tour of the zoo and describes it all using clever and hilarious word play.


Neo Leo

Gene Barretta; illustrations by Gene Barretta

In 1781, Thomas Paine came up with a model for a single-span bridge; in 1887, Adolf Eugen Fick made the first pair of contact lenses; and in 1907, Paul Cornu built the first helicopter. But...