David Shannon

In the world of David Shannon books, anything can happen. Ducks can ride bikes and kids can get rainbow stripes instead of chicken pox. But not all of Shannon's books are pure fiction. For his 1999 Caldecott Honor book, No, David!, Shannon reached back into his own mischievous childhood for material. In all of his work, Shannon likes to keep the colors bright, the illustrations bold, and the stories entertaining. "I try to have fun when I'm making a book," he says. "I feel like if I have fun, that's going to come across. And whoever reads it is going to have fun, too."



An Exclusive Interview
Watch the video clips


Click below for Reading Rockets' interview with David Shannon. The playful author and illustrator talks about his love for bright colors, his distaste for lima beans, and where he gets the ideas for his books.



The Life of David Shannon

David Shannon made his first book when he was only five. On orange paper, he drew pictures of himself doing the things that got him into trouble: sneaking into the cookie jar, jumping on the bed, and making too much noise. The only two words in the book were "No" and "David" – two words that he heard often and knew how to spell.

As a young boy, David also liked to draw pirates, baseball players, battle scenes, and characters from books. He pursued his artistic interests at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. After graduating with a degree in fine arts, Shannon moved to New York City, where he worked for ten years as an editorial illustrator for adults. His work appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Time.

When David Shannon first agreed to illustrate a children's book, he thought it would be a fun, one-time diversion. But after How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? was published in 1992, editors sent him more and more manuscripts to illustrate. Eventually, Shannon began to write and illustrate his own stories, including the popular titles No, David!, Duck on a Bike, and A Bad Case of Stripes.

David Shannon lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and their young daughter, Emma, who enjoys reading her dad's books, inspiring new ones, and making books of her own.



Books by This Author

A Bad Case of Stripes

Age Level: 6-9
In an attempt to be like everyone else, Camilla stops eating the lima beans she so enjoys. But then she wakes up one morning with a bad case of rainbow stripes, her condition flummoxes her family and doctors, and generates huge media attention. A riot of color adds to the humor in this intriguing and not so subtle look at conformity.

David Gets in Trouble

Age Level: 3-6
When David gets in trouble, he always says, "No! It's not my fault! I didn't mean to! It was an accident!" Whatever the situation, David has a good excuse. And no matter what he's done "wrong," it's never really his fault. Soon, though, David realizes that making excuses makes him feel bad, and saying he's sorry makes him feel better.

David Goes to School

Age Level: 3-6
Every teacher dreads a child like David –– trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. Finally, David’s antics force the teacher to keep him after school to wash the desks. He does the job well, and glows from the praise for his good work. David’s good behavior, though, is sure to be short-lived, and the child-like illustrations portend what will happen the next day.

Duck on a Bike

Age Level: 3-6
When Duck decides to try riding a bike, the other farm animals scoff at him – that is, until a group of kids leave their bikes unattended. Expressive illustrations use different perspectives to show the animals gleefully riding the bikes around the barnyard in this imaginative and funny romp.

How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball

Age Level: 6-9
Baseball and a boy named Georgie Radbourn are the reason that America's perpetual winter came to an end. It was his perseverance and love of baseball that finally cracked failed player Boss Swaggert's hold on the game. Dark hued illustrations evoke a time past and celebrate the triumph of innocence over evil

Jangles: A Big Fish Story

Age Level: 6-9
Jangles is the fish of legendary proportion. He's evaded everything from special lures to dynamite from fishermen on Big Lake. The narrator shares his father's story about Jangles, realistically illustrated in deeply hued colors for a fish tale of gigantic proportion.

No, David!

Age Level: 3-6

"No, David," wails his mother, as David reaches for the cookie jar. "No! No! No!" as he makes a swamp out of the bathroom. "Come back here, David!" as he runs naked down the street. David is an energetic little rascal who is constantly getting into trouble.

The Rain Came Down

Age Level: 3-6
"On Saturday morning, the rain came down. It made the chickens squawk." But that's only the beginning. Before the sun comes out again, an entire neighborhood is in a crabby uproar. There's no end in sight… until the rain stops and the sun comes out. Before they know it, the bickerers are helping each other clean up the mess caused by the ruckus, and everyone's smiling again.

Books by This Illustrator

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Illustrated by: David Shannon

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation. Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker’s message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century.