“The making of these pictures may be difficult,” Holly Meade (1956–2013) once said of her signature collage illustrations. “But it’s more like serious play than serious work.” The artist’s “serious play” earned her many accolades, including a Caldecott Honor for her cut-paper-and-ink illustrations in Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho, described by Kirkus Reviews as “exceptionally beautiful.” Holly Meade teamed up again with Mingfong Ho to create Peek! A Thai Hide-And-Seek, a gloriously illustrated tale of the familiar game, played by father and child.
Holly Meade’s unique and evolving style proved ideal to illuminate a wide range of picture books. For a trio of acclaimed books by David Elliott—On The Farm, In The Wild, and In The Sea—the artist used woodcuts for the first time, creating prints that Publishers Weekly said “are so bold they seem to crow at the reader.”
Her collage work again came to the fore in Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s lyrical Naamah And the Ark at Night, with illustrations that Booklist called “striking,” adding that author and illustrator “take a most familiar story and make it breathtakingly new.”
Holly Meade was the creative force behind If I Never Forever Endeavor, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her technique involved block print and watercolor collages that Kirkus Reviews found “stunning.” The subject—a fledgling getting ready to fly—is “a metaphor that quite appeals to most of us,” the artist said. “We want to fly, but are often afraid. We weigh the pros and cons of the next risky undertaking: will it bring wonderful returns?”
Holly Meade graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and worked as an art teacher and graphic designer before embarking on a career illustrating nearly thirty children’s books. A longtime New Englander, she drew much inspiration from the natural world around her home in coastal Maine.