Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ken Stark  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Children; Children;

Born: N/A

-- Website --
-- Ken Stark on WorldCat --

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 HugesBooks Written and Illustrated by Ken Stark
  • Oh, Brother!, Putnam, 2003
  • Marching to Appomattox: The Footrace That Ended the Civil War, Putnam, 2009

Selected Titles At Your Library

Growing seasons /
ISBN: 0399234608. OCLC Number:

G.P. Putnam's Sons,. New York :. ©2000.

Born into an Illinois farm family in 1906, Elsie Lee Splear describes how she, her parents, and her sisters lived in the early years of the twentieth century and how the changing seasons shaped their existence.

Orphan train /
ISBN: 0399236139. OCLC Number:

G.P. Putnam's Sons,. New York :. ©2003.

Illustrations and rhyming text tell the story of a sister and two brothers who become orphans, are taken in, and make a journey aboard an orphan train to separate new homes.

Seeing the elephant :
ISBN: 0374380244. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux,. New York :. 2007.

Ten-year-old Izzie wants to join the war like his older brothers and go into battle against the Confederate Army, but when he meets a Rebel soldier in a hospital, he begins to see things differently.

Spike in trouble /
ISBN: 0399237666. OCLC Number:

G.P. Putnam's Sons,. New York :. ©2003.

Spike enjoys attending obedience school after someone causes a lot of mischief at home, but upon his return he exposes the real culprit.

Marching to Appomattox :
ISBN: 0399242120. OCLC Number:

G.P. Putnam's Sons,. New York :. ©2009.

Tells the tale of the seven day campaign that culminated in the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox and the end of the Civil War.


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

    Speaking Engagement Availability (No)