Author lectures in honor of Children’s Literature Center’s 10th Anniversary

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Children’s book author and illustrator Deborah Nourse Lattimore lectured in honor of Donoghue Children’s Literature Center’s 10th anniversary. Lattimore shared her experiences as a children’s author to inspire future authors to follow their passion.

Her lecture was twofold: to provide insider information on how to write and illustrate children’s books as well as how to use children’s books in the classroom. Throughout the presentation, Lattimore focused a lot on her personal experiences and shared her journey to becoming an author.

Lattimore received her B.A. in art history and Egyptology from UCLA. She teaches at the Art Center College of Design and at UCLA. She is the author and/or illustrator of 40 children’s books.

She has traveled around the world as a scholar, an artist and a writer. Her picture books take young readers on amazing journeys back through time to ancient and mysterious cultures.

“At school other children would say they were going to the movies; I would be going to museums,” said Lattimore. “There is something about my childhood in every single one of my books.”

Growing up with weekly trips to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with her grandmother, Lattimore was fascinated by history and ancient art at a young age. She was surprised to find out that other children her age were not as exposed to different art collections and the history she had been so familiar with.

The only books available to her when she was younger that unveiled ancient history were adult literature. Today Lattimore’s incredibly detailed illustrations provide children with rich iconography of ancient civilizations, something she always aspired to have access to as a child.

“What’s cool about Lattimore’s books are that they are so evocative of the era,” said Stephanie Rosenblatt, Pollak Library’s education librarian. “Her illustrations are very lavish and detailed. They get children excited to learn about the history of ancient civilizations.”

Lattimore stresses in order to write a children’s book, you have to access the kid inside yourself. Her goal has been to get children to enjoy reading. She does not aspire to write predictable storylines that are so familiar in many children’s books.

“If a book bores you as an adult,” said Lattimore, “what makes you think a child will enjoy it?”

Lattimore writes about things that fascinate her. She said there are things akin to you and you alone that you may have forgotten. Whatever you can stimulate from yourself and/or your childhood makes the best book.

“She has a lot of interesting stories that have influenced the books she’s written,” said Cynthia Truong, a business major. “She has a childhood full of adventures and imagination that I am sure a lot of us can relate to; she utilizes these experiences in her books.”

Lattimore has also experienced many problems overcoming publishers and editors who disagreed with her story choices, but the major point she wanted to get across was don’t stop, never give up.

“Find your own best method, make a list of the books you like, take a look at nonfiction, explore what fascinates you and go with it,” Lattimore said. “If you are interested in something, you can create a book that captivates children.”

For more information on Deborah Lattimore, visit her website at

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