Julie Fortenberry

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Pearl Goes to Preschool is available for pre-order!

Download a Pearl Paper Doll!

I’ve always loved painting. My favorite kindergarten memory is of tempera painting at an easel. I have an MFA from Hunter College and my abstract paintings have been in the Whitney Museum of American Art. But for the last 15 years I've been painting for preschoolers and kindergarteners. My first digital paintings were for High Five and Ladybug magazines. It’s been inspiring to illustrate Eve Bunting’s Pirate Boy, and a series of books by Rabbi Jamie Korngold, three of which are Sydney Taylor Notable Books.

I both illustrated and authored The Artist and the King, published in 2014 by Alazar Press, and Lily’s Cat Mask in 2017 for Viking. I was thrilled when Lily’s Cat Mask received a Kirkus starred review and was added to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, the amazing program that has sent over a 100 million free books to children.

My next book, Pearl Goes to Preschool, will be published in June of 2020 by Candlewick Press, and in 2021 Darcy's First Sleepover will be published by Macmillan/Ottaviano.

Read about my creative process at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. And watch my painting process below.

My studio (and cat)


  • For Bonjour * Hola * Privet * Nǐ hǎo * Ciao * Yā * Hallo * Olá

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Pearl Goes to Preschool is available for Pre-order!