Irene Latham

Capturing Corvin Photography

Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming works of poetry, fiction, and picture books. Her work includes Charlotte Huck Honor Book and ALA Notable Children’s Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (co-written with Charles Waters) and the Caldecott Honor Book The Cat Man of Aleppo(co-written by Karim Shamsi-Basha). In 2016 she won the ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. Visit her at


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I had many favorites (and still do!). One that I still think of almost every day is Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. Horton inspires me to be faithful to the things I love.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“You do not have to be good.”—from the poem “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Another impossible question! Three now-deceased poets who continue to inspire me to create my best, most authentic work are Khalil Gibran, Valerie Worth, and Langston Hughes.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I love who I am when I’m creating. I can’t think of anything more fun or fulfilling than spending every day on the playground of words and story.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Horton sat on that egg through rain, snow, attack, relocation, and more! He didn’t give up. That kind of devotion is exactly what’s required when living a creative life.