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About Katherine Kahn

Katherine Kahn

Katherine Janus Kahn has been illustrating children's books for television and print for over 30 years.

Katherine's adventures with children's books started when she went to Israel as a volunteer after the Six-Day War. She took 3 pencils, a tablet of drawing paper, and an eraser, with the vague idea of starting to draw again. She had always been the class artist in elementary school, but she had stopped. She hasn't stopped again since Israel.

While she was in Israel, she worked in the Negev Desert on an archeological dig and harvested olives on a kibbutz in the Galilee. She went to art school in the newly united city of Jerusalem. It was the first time in 20 years that Jews were allowed into the old city. The city glows golden in the sun, because it is built with the famous yellow Jerusalem stone. Its narrow streets and alleys are like a maze, leading the visitor to the smells of spices and strong Turkish coffee, the sounds of tinkling bells on donkeys carrying bundles as big as they are; and silver pitchers and colorful fabrics and in the bazaars. Women walk through these narrow streets clothed all in black with only their eyes showing.

Katherine's "Sammy Spider" series for preschoolers, by Kar-Ben Publishing, is an engaging introduction to Jewish traditions told by Sammy, a curious spider, who watches everything that Josh and his mother are doing from high up on the Shapiro's living room ceiling.

Each story covers a specific Jewish holiday and a learning concept. The original book, Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah, teaches numbers and colors using the candles of the menorah. Different books cover the seasons, one day, sizes, sounds, the five senses, and many more concepts important for young children. Kahn's brightly colored collage illustrations and simple bold designs for the "Sammy Spider" series have been widely praised. The books are used in hundreds of Jewish preschools across the country. A Publishers Weekly reviewer has compared the series to the work of Eric Carle. The series has also been translated and published in France by Yodea Publishing.

For the WETA-TV program "Cover to Cover", Katherine won the Golden Hugo Award from the Chicago International Film Festival for her illustrations for the program on "A Wizard of Earthsea," by Ursala LeGuin , an exciting book of a sorcerers' school written long before Harry Potter.