Meet the Illustrator

Leonard Jenkins

Portrait of Leonard Jenkins

Leonard Jenkins comes from a family of eight children, and as a boy he wanted to set himself apart in some way. Because he was "obsessed with drawing," he made his mark through his art. He now likes to encourage kids who share his enthusiasm for drawing and painting. He has taught art to children at an after-school program in New York City and also teaches painting at New York's School of Visual Arts.

Jenkins created advertising art before he got the opportunity to illustrate children's books. When a friend of his wrote a book, Jenkins did a sample illustration for it. Some editors liked the illustration and asked Jenkins if he'd like to illustrate another book, Mayfield Crossing, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. This became his first published book.

In some of his illustrations, Leonard Jenkins uses himself as a model. He says, "I paint myself because I like to make the story personal. Then the story becomes more realistic with the colors, movements, and backgrounds."

Photography Credit


Other Books Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins

  • Mayfield Crossing
    (written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much: A Moral Tale from the Baila of Zambia
    (written by Julius Lester)
  • Sambalena Show-Off
    (written by Phillis Gershator)
  • Sambalena Show-Off and the Iron Pot
    (written by Phillis Gershator)
  • If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong
    (written by Roxanne Orgill)
  • Mister and Me
    (written by Kimberly Willis Holt)
  • Sunflower Island
    (written by Carol Greene)
  • Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly
    (written by Walter Dean Myers)
  • Tituba
    (written by William Miller)