The Madison-based author and illustrator, who imbues his work with skill, invention, humanity and wit, began producing children's books as a UW student in 1981. His oeuvre now includes more than 40 titles, geared toward children and young adults; he's received the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Honor, two of the highest recognitions in his field, and is a regular fixture on the New York Times best-seller list.
A 2006 Isthmus profile revealed that Henkes avoids email and drafts his novels in longhand, in spiral notebooks. He takes his time, a commodity often denied other writers amid their constant need to tweet and blog.
But Henkes doesn't just sequester himself in his near-west-side studio. He remains involved with the community, evident in the public artwork he's created (or co-created with wife Laura Dronzek) for Randall School, the Madison Children's Museum and even the Neuhauser Pharmacy window on Monroe Street.