bio

"My career creating multicultural children’s books is a direct response to my childhood in Korea, which kindled in me a fascination for the beauty and glory of human differences, and a passion for the truth that, across our differences, we are all one human family. We belong to each other. That’s what I’m trying to get to, through all my work."

Anne Sibley O’Brien is a children’s book creator who has illustrated thirty-two picture books, including Jamaica's Find and six other Jamaica titles by Juanita Havill. She is the author of fourteen of those books, including the graphic novel retelling of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea. The most recent title she wrote and illustrated is I'm New Here, a picture book about three immigrant children which was named to Kirkus Review's "Best Books of 2015". She has also written two recent picture books which she did not illustrate, Abracadabra, It's Spring! and Hocus Pocus, It's Fall!, both illustrated by Susan Gal. 

Her first novel, In the Shadow of the Sun, is forthcoming (June 27, 2017) from Arthur Levine Books/Scholastic. A political escape thriller set in North Korea, it will be the first fictional representation for young readers of the contemporary DPRK.   

In addition to many book awards, she has received, with author Margy Burns Knight, the 1997 National Education Association Author-Illustrator Human & Civil Rights Award for their body of work. 

In 2007, she received the Katahdin Award for lifetime achievement from the Maine Library Association.

O’Brien’s passion for multiracial, multicultural, and global subjects grew out of her experience of being raised bilingual and bicultural in South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries. She attended Mount Holyoke College where she majored in Studio Art, and spent her junior year abroad at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea.

She writes the column, "The Illustrator's Perspective," for the Bulletin of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and a blog, "Coloring Between the Lines."

In addition to creating books, she has been involved for many years in diversity education and leadership training. She is also a performer, and has created a one-woman show entitled “White Lies: one woman’s quest for release from the enchantment of whiteness."

She lives with her husband on an island in Maine, and is the mother of two grown children.

An essay on O'Brien's bicultural American-Korean experience, "Of Longing and Belonging", published at KoreanAmericanStory.org

An interview with Tarie of the blog, "Into the Wardrobe," covering O'Brien's childhood, influences, favorite books, getting published, creative process, and lots more.

A video interview with Arirang TV, Korea, explores O'Brien's history growing up in and passion for Korea.

A profile with photos at Kids Without Borders