Jolene Gutiérrez

Jolene Gutiérrez has always loved animals. She grew up on a farm where she rode horses, bottle-fed calves, chased kittens, and raised tadpoles that grew into toads. She’s been a school librarian for 25 years and lives in Colorado with her husband, 2 teenage kids, 3 preteen dogs, and 1 prickly hedgehog. Learn more at


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I loved hearing my mom read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. The first book I connected with as a reader was A Horse Called Dragon by Lynn Hall, a book told from the horse’s point of view.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”—Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Mo Willems, Kate DiCamillo, and Yuyi Morales.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I’ve loved writing since I was young! I’m a school librarian and know the power of books to change and even save lives. It’s always been my dream to help my students and other readers find a book they love and to see themselves in a book.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read, read, read, and write, write, write (or draw, draw, draw)! Study your favorite authors and illustrators. The more writing and art you’re exposed to and the more you practice creating, the better you’ll be!