Tomek Bogacki

I was born on April 1, 1950, in the small town of Konin in Poland. Sometimes I feel very young, sometimes somewhat old. I am neither tall nor short. I don't wear suits and ties. I have many pairs of glasses, and I am never sure which pair to wear, so often I don't wear any at all. I like riding a bike, and I like the smell of fresh grass and flowers. I like music, and I like silence where I can hear my thoughts and let my imagination run free. I draw all the time, and have for as long as I can remember. I always have a lot of ideas, but never enough time to work on all of them. 

I grew up in my grandparents' big house on the bank of the Warta River in Konin. I liked to ride my bike to the outskirts of the town, to the meadows. I liked playing with other children, but I also liked to be alone in my first attic "studio" to draw, paint, read books, write stories, or just sit quietly with my eyes closed, imagining faraway places and adventures. I carved the wooden toys
I played with. I planted my first flower garden there.

When I was fourteen, I moved to the capital of Poland--Warsaw--where I completed my high-school education and later attended the Academy of Fine Arts. I still loved riding my bike, the smell of fresh grass and flowers, and sitting in silence and letting my imagination run free. I still read books, wrote stories, and drew all the time.

For many years after that, I lived in a house deep in a forest in the Mazury region in Poland. I rode my bike, planted flowers in my garden, and carved wooden sculptures, and toys for my little son to play with. I had plenty of time to do what I loved. Later I traveled widely and lived in many different places--London, Florence, Stockholm, and Amsterdam among them. I stayed in some places for only a few days, and in others for a few years. Then one day I came to New York. It felt like home, so I decided to stay . . .

I started illustrating books for children during my last year in college. Since then I have illustrated more than forty books, some of them my own stories. Children all over the world have enjoyed them, so I continue to work on new ones.

Tomek Bogacki obtained a fine arts degree from the Academy of Art in Warsaw, Poland. While active as a painter, he became involved in a variety of other artistic pursuits. His growing interest in graphic design resulted in numerous posters, book jackets, and record album covers. Through his work with Polish television, Tomek gained recognition for his animated film projects, having produced over fifty. He has also designed stage sets for theater and television in Warsaw and London, participated in developing an educational illustration program for elementary schools in Poland, and had his work shown in a multitude of prestigious illustration exhibitions.

His interest in children's book illustration goes back to 1973, when his first book was commissioned by KAW Publishers in Warsaw. His distinctive style has won him international acclaim, and his books continue to be published throughout Europe and in China and Japan. Tomek now lives in New York City.

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by the author

The Champion of Children

Tomek Bogacki
Frances Foster Books

In 1912, a well-known doctor and writer named Janusz Korczak designed an extraordinary orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland. Believing that children...

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Monkeys and the Universe
Monkey Readers
Kate Banks; Pictures by Tomek Bogacki
Frances Foster Books

Max’s older brother, Pete, is building a model of the solar system, and he won’t let Max help. It’s enough to make a little monkey feel like nothing more than...

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Five Creatures

Emily Jenkins; Pictures by Tomek Bogacki
Square Fish

Three humans and two cats Five creatures live in our house. Three humans, and two cats. Three short, and two tall. Four grownups, and one child...

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