About the author.
Shannon Nataf was raised in Los Angeles, with her French-Tunisian father (inspiration for the Bee!), North Carolina native mother, and her two brothers. During her early education, Shannon attended the “Wildwood School” in LA – a highly acclaimed private school focused on creativity and self- expression. Shannon first fell in love with story telling at a very young age, being influenced by the creative environment at Wildwood – “I remember having a story teller come in to our class once a week to read us tales, myths, and meaningful stories from around the world...I was always mesmerized as a child – my imagination would run wild with each new tale! The stories were embedded with deep meaning, imparting lessons on empathy, kindness, courage and determination, teaching us early on to see that we were a part of something much bigger than just ourselves. These weekly stories were so impactful for me...I learned life lessons that weren’t taught in any other classroom.”
It was this beginning that later led Shannon to begin her first children’s book. “I was living in Paris at the time, trying to get a job at this fashion company – I remember riding my bike along the Seine River heading to an interview, and out of nowhere it was like I was being read a story – as if I was at back at Wildwood during story time! I immediately pulled my bike over, and as fast as I could, I began to write...trying to catch the inspiration as it rushed through me! It was then, in the midst of my pursuits in fashion, branding and design, that I decided I wanted to share these ideas and stories with children – to have the same impact on a new generation of kids, that the stories and literature had on me as a young girl, inspiring creativity and bravery, giving me the courage to step out into the world, embrace who I was, and dream big.”
Since that first strike of inspiration while riding her bike in Paris, Shannon has traveled the world, collecting stories, experiences and wisdom from different cultures and people of all ages and backgrounds, and is channeling all of that into her writing. Her cultural diversity in her early years, along with her own journey through life, self-discovery and purpose, and her background in art, design and creativity, give her the tools and resources to imagine and realize beautifully designed children's books, with a depth, meaning, and voice that is uniquely her own.
About the illustrator.
Echo Li born and raised in a small city near Beijing for over twenty years, she has a deeply rooted Chinese culture background. After she graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Art, she came to Art Center College of Design to study illustration in Los Angeles. She loves exploring the world, and observing people on the street with a pencil and a sketchbook in hand. In her art, line drawing usually is everything, sometimes with shadow and shapes. She strives to develop her deep cultural background and combine it with what is happening now in society. Her work has appeared on the site of Society of Illustrators and in Creative Quarterly Magazine.
(To see more Echo's work, find her here: www.qintongli.com)