Born in Zululand on November 2, 1959, author and illustrator Barbara Knutson was the daughter of missionaries. She lived with her family for thirteen years in South Africa before they returned to the United States. By then, Barbara’s interest in the varied cultures of the world was firmly engrained. She was a gatherer of folk tales, interested in peace and finding the good in all people. Barbara worked for social justice and education and understanding.
Barbara was an illustrator who worked primarily in scratchboard and woodblock, often drawing the animals and birds she enjoyed so much. Her books Sungura and Leopard andHow the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots received Minnesota Book Awards and are frequently taught in schools across the country. Her most recent book, Love and Roast Chicken, has received a great deal of acclaim, as well as being named a Notable Book by ALA. She was a frequent illustrator of books for Lerner Publishing, Carolrhoda Books, Liturgical Press, Augsburg Fortress, and Cricket magazine.
Barbara lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her husband, Chris. She passed away in May of 2005, from an unexpected illness. We miss her gentle, smiling presence and the gift of her art and books.