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Stephen Gammell Edit Profile


Stephen Gammell is an American illustrator of children's books.


Stephen Gammell grew up in Iowa. His father, an art editor for a major magazine, brought home periodicals that gave Stephen early artistic inspiration.


In 1982 he was a runner-up for Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker. He is self-taught. He started his career with freelance commercial work, but became interested in children's book illustration. His first picture book was published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in 1973: A Nutty Business by Ida Chittum, featuring a "war" between squirrels and a farmer.

That same year he illustrated The Search (Harper & Row, 1973), a juvenile biography of Leo Tolstoy by Sara Newton Carroll. Since then, he has illustrated nearly sixty titles. Gammell is particularly well known for the surreal, unsettling illustrations he provided for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a series of horror short stories by Alvin Schwartz that is still an adolescent favorite.

He works daily in his studio, located over a restaurant.


  • He won the 1989 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman.


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  • Other Work

    • Author, illustrator: Once Upon MacDonald's Farm, 1981, Wake Up, Bear-It's Christmas!, 1981 (Children's Choice award 1982), The Story of Mr. And Mistress Vinegar, 1982, Git Along, Old Scudder, 1983. Illustrator: A Nutty Business, 1973, The Search: A Biography of Leo Tolstoy, 1973, Let Me Hear You Whisper, 1974, The Glory Horse: A Story of the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas in 1836, 1974, Thunder at Gettysburg, 1975, Nabby Adams' Diary, 1975, Ghosts, 1976, Meet the Werewolf, 1976, The Kelpie's Pearls, 1976 (American Library Association notable book 1976), A Furl of Fairy Wind, 1977, Alice Yazzie's Year, 1977, The Ghost of Tillie Jean Cassaway, 1978 (South Carolina Children's book award 1982), Day of the Blizzard, 1978, The Hawks of Chelney, 1978, Leo Possessed, 1979, Stonewall, 1979 (New York Times Outstanding Book of Year 1979, Boston Globe/Horn Book award honor book 1980, American Library Association notable book 1980), A Net to Catch the Wind, 1979, Meet the Vampire, 1979, Yesterday's Island, 1979, Whitepaws: A Coyote-Dog, 1979, Stream Runner, 1979, Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust, 1980, And Then the Mouse.

      : Three Stories, 1980, The Real Tom Thumb, 1980, Blackbird Singing, 1980, Flash and the Swan, 1981, Where the Buffaloes Begin, 1981 (Boston Globe/Horn Book award honor book for illustration 1981, New York Times best illustrated book 1981, New York Times Outstanding Book of Year 1981, Parent's Choice award Parent's Choice Foundation 1981, Caldecott honor book 1982, American Book award nomination 1982), Demo and the Dolphin, 1981, Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark, 1981 (Arizona Young Readers award 1987, Buckeye Children's book award 1987), The Best Way to Ripton, 1982, The Old Banjo, 1983, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 1984, Waiting to Waltz: A Childhood, 1984 (American Library Association notable book 1984, Society Midland Authors award 1985), Thaddeus, 1984, The Relatives Came, 1985 (New York Times best illustrated book of year 1985, Child Study Association of America's Children's books of year 1985, Caldecott honor book 1986, Boston Globe/Horn book award honor book 1986), Thanksgiving Poems, 1985 (Child Study Association of America's Children's book of year 1985), Who Kidnapped the Sheriff? or, Tales from Tickfaw, 1985, A Regular Rolling Noah, 1986, Old Henry, 1987 (Boston Globe/Horn book award honor book 1987), The Great Dimpole Oak, 1987, Song and Dance Man, 1988 (Caldecott medal 1989), Airmail to the Moon, 1988, Dancing Tepees: Poems of American Indian Youth, 1989, Will's Mammoth, 1989, Halloween Poems, 1989, Wing-a-Ding, 1990, Come a Tide, 1990, The Wing Shop, 1991, Scary Stories Three: More Tales to Chill Your Bones, 1991, Old Black Fly, 1992, Monster Mama, 1993.