was born in 1966 in Westport, Connecticut right in the middle of two older brothers and two younger sisters. We kept our mother busy while my father worked long hours at IBM. Most of my childhood was spent in my head. I was usually recreating a battle from World War II or running from dinosaurs in prehistoric times. To this day, I develop characters and environments based on worlds I first created when I was three. I am grateful to my mother who kept us surrounded with art. I come from a long line of artists and my grandmother, Grace Boyd, was the best. She died before I was born, but her fantastic paintings and drawings were all around us.
Since my father worked for IBM, we moved often. I think being on the move during my formative years has been the reason I tend to create books about returning home. By the time I graduated from high school we were living in Boulder, Colorado. At the University of Colorado, I began my long career as a professional student. I first thought I was going to be an engineer so I took all kinds of science and math classes. I enjoyed solving math problems, but I could not see myself working in a lab. Along the way, I continued to draw and create worlds as I always have. My friends and teachers were very supportive. Around the time when I should have been graduating, I decided to start over and go to art school at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I finally graduated from college, in 1992.
One of my illustration teachers, William Low introduced me to Laura Godwin, a children’s book editor at Henry Holt and Company. She gave me my first professional art job to illustrate a little science book, Frozen Man written by David Getz. I worked really hard on that book. Laura was impressed; so I was offered to illustrate a picture book, Night Driving written by John Coy. Again I did the best illustrations I knew how, like my life depended on it. One drawing of a car going over a bridge made my girlfriend cry. She said, “Oh, you can draw.” We were then married in 1995.
Night Driving was first published in 1996 and received praise from critics and won some awards. Laura Godwin then offered me the best of all offers; I could write and illustrate whatever I wanted. Little Bunny on the Move came into my mind after months of searching for a story. Little Bunny on the Move was published in 1999 and won a Best Illustrated Book of the Year from the New York Times. That book established my career and gave me the confidence to continue to write and illustrate the books that are inspired by family and the various pets that we care for. As our children grew older and the pets have changed, my stories have evolved to include the environment that surrounds me but also the possibilities of other worlds.
Over the years my books have received many awards including:
The Caldecott Honor for Hondo and Fabian in 2003
The New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award four times for Little Bunny on the Move in 1999, Hondo and Fabian in 2002, Henry in Love in 2010, and The Tree in the Courtyard in 2016
The Charlotte Zolotow Award for Moon Plane in 2006
The NAIBA Book or the Year Award for Jeremy Draws a Monster in 2010
The Society of Illustrators Original Art Show Gold Medal for Hondo and Fabian in 2002
Peter McCarty is represented by Holly McGhee.