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Bob Barner

Author & Illustrator

Bob Barner is the creator of many popular children’s picture books including, Dem Bones, Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!, and Fish Wish. The colorful torn paper collages of Dem Bones help bring to life this classic African-American spiritual, while the frolicking skeletons captivate children and adults as they sing along with this well-known, catchy song. Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! features pretty ladybugs, fluttering butterflies, creepy daddy long legs, and round roly polies -- just some of the familiar creatures in this whimsically illustrated insect album. In Fish Wish, a young boy's dream sends him on an underwater journey through a coral reef. The book also includes factual information on coral reefs and the animals that live in them.

Barner graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design and worked as an art director and illustrator before starting his career in publishing. One of his first jobs after moving to Boston to begin his career was working as an artist for famous cartoonist Al Capp on the popular Li’l Abner comic strip. After several other art director positions, he quit his day job to begin his career as a full-time illustrator for advertising and publishing. Working for clients like the New England Aquarium, The Boston Globe, Pan Am, Houghton Mifflin, Little Brown, Boston Museum of Science, Scholastic, Cricket Magazine, and Chronicle Books, he developed his collage art style and a broad range of creative expertise.

Today, Bob Barner works largely in the field of design, illustration, and writing for non-fiction picture books for young readers ages 4 to 8. When he is not in his San Francisco studio, he likes to present his work to students at schools and libraries around the world. His books are in print in French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Five of his titles have been developed into award-winning videos and set to music. He has recently performed some of his rhyming text as songs for inclusion in the e-book versions of his books.

Bob has won the Parent’s Choice Award, Teacher’s Choice Award, Andy Award, several American Bookseller Association “Pick of the Lists” recognition, Book Build West honors and the Texas Library Association 2x2 Reading List among many other honors. In 2004 he was honored as a San Francisco Library Laureate. His work has been chosen several times for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition in New York. Bob Barner lives with his wife Catherine in San Francisco.

Learn more about Bob Barner on his website.  


Ants Rule: The Long and Short of It
Sea Bones
The Day of the Dead / El Dia De Los Muertos: A Bilingual Celebration
Fish Wish
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
Dem Bones
Dinosaur Bones

Festival Testimonials

...I loved seeing how the artist does her drawing because I want to be an artist when I'm older.
I really liked the open interaction.
This was awesome! Great glimpse into life of artist.