Ken Stark

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General Information

Name: Ken Stark

Pen Name: None

Born: N/A


Email: N/A

Illinois Connection

Stark grew up in Kankakee.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ken Stark is an award-winning book illustrator, editorial cartoonist, painter, and freehand graphic artist who has mostly lived and worked in rural Wisconsin and Illinois. The lifelong artist, now of southwestern Wisconsin, is largely self-taught.

Oh Brother!, the first book Ken both wrote and illustrated--gives a true glimpse of Ken and his brother's 1950s country life in rural Illinois which fostered their art careers. Orphan Train (by Verla Kay), the third inter-generational history-based book he illustrated, follows three orphans as they ride the orphan train west from New York City. Ken illustrated the book Orphan Train as he felt a kinship with the children in the book. As a young child, Ken stayed five months at a children's home when his mother was ill.

The first book Ken illustrated was Growing Seasons. It was written by his former long-time neighbor Elsie Lee Splear and was named an International Reading Associations Teachers' Choice, a Smithsonian Magazine Best Book of the Year, a CCBC Children's Choice, a Society of Midland Authors Honor Book, a Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Children's Title for Illustration, and was chosen for the Illinois State Historical Library collection of history of 20th Century farm life. The paintings from Ken Stark's books have been shown in museums and galleries and are available for future exhibitions.

Ken paints in rural Kankakee, Illinois and in Southwestern Wisconsin where he and his wife have reconstructed an 1800's log house.

Published Works

Books Illustrated by Ken Stark

  • Growing Seasons, Putnam, 2000 - written by Elsie Lee Splear and Carolyn Splear Pratt
  • Orphan Train, Putnam, 2003 - written by Verla Kay
  • Seeing the Elephant: A Story of the Civil War, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007 - written by Pat Huges

Books Written and Illustrated by Ken Stark

  • Oh, Brother!, Putnam, 2003
  • Marching to Appomattox: The Footrace That Ended the Civil War, Putnam, 2009

Titles at Your Library

Orphan Train

ISBN: 0399236139
Release Date: 2003-05-12

Find on World Cat

Oh, Brother!

ISBN: 0399237666
Release Date: 2003-03-10

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

Growing Seasons

  • Outstanding Children's Book for Illustration, Wisconsin Library Association

Marching to Appomattox

  • Beacon of Freedom Award, Williamsburg Regional Library and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2011

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: (No)

External Links

Ken Stark on WorldCat


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