I’m going to hope that everyone with an interest in diverse children’s books has at least heard of Jerry Pinkney. However, did you know that much of the rest of his family is involved in art or literature as well?
First, did you know that Jerry Pinkney was dyslexic? He still loves reading although it’s a very slow process for him. If you go to his studio page and click on “Learning Differences”, you can see what he has to say about it as well as his high school graduation photograph. You can read more about his struggles with dyslexia at the Yale Dyslexia Center site.
Jerry’s wife, Gloria Jean Pinkney, is another of the lesser known Pinkneys. She is mostly behind the scenes, assisting Jerry with his artwork and encouraging her children. However, though this work she eventually found her own calling to be an author, and has written several children’s books based on her own childhood experiences or religious topics.
She talks about writing one in this video:
Probably the most well-known of Jerry’s children is Brian Pinkney. He also married an author and editor, Andrea Davis Pinkney (and co-opted her About page, as he doesn’t have his own website). Andrea has written board books, nonfiction titles, and many middle grade novels, but is almost as well known for the picture books she usually writes for her husband’s illustrations (although she does collaborate with other artists too).
Back in 2000, the father and son even staged an exhibition together at the Nation Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Jerry’s work tends to be more realistic, while Brian’s is bolder, but both convey a great sense of character and motion in their artwork. You can see samples of their art from a similar, earlier collaboration here.
Fewer people know about the other Pinkney author/illustrator husband and wife team, perhaps because this son took to photography instead. Myles C. Pinkney and his wife Sandra L. collaborated on several books. He has also illustrated/photographed for other authors as well. They have a photography studio.
You can read about the entire family, including a brief mention of the other two children (art therapist Troy and fine arts painter/ad agency creative director Scott) in this USA Today article. Jerry, Brian, Andrea, and Gloria Jean discuss the creative process in this fairly extensive HornBook article.
Finally, listen to Jerry Pinkney and see his art in this exhibition of his work.