About

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, where I trained to be a graphic designer with a strong focus on critical thinking. My approach to graphic design and communication problem-solving has not changed much. But along the way, I learned to observe how similar people are, whether they are learning to read, or running large corporations.

So, I’m an information designer, a storyteller, who can make any type of information accessible to any type of audience.

After a decade of designing books for children and young adults, I became a children’s author and illustrator as well. I love working with children and teachers or parents. They help my work get better, as my speciality is bringing out the emotional connections between people.

I have always believed that it’s is worth celebrating how people are more similar than different. I have also seen over the last few decades how much better it is for children of all backgrounds to see or read themselves in books.

Since 2017 I’ve been running an independent publishing company creating and producing naturally inclusive books for very young children called Alanna Max

Here is a selection of my books for children:

Career Highlights

2020 

  • Astrid Lingren Memorial Award (ALMA) 2021 nomination
  • Winner STEAM AWARD for Early Years picturebooks 2020 
  • World Book Day Steering Committee
  • Board of Directors Association of Illustrators 
  • Judge, Wales Book of the Year 2020
  • Bank Street College (USA) – 20 best books of the Year 
  • Launched 17Promises magazine in partnership with UN, Govt of Zimbabwe

2019

  • Nominated- Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards 2019 (UK)
  • Mentor, Pathways into Publishing
  • Included in Breaking New Ground as one of the most influential black authors/illustrators in the UK
  • Honourable Mention, Moveable Books Society Meggendorfer Prize for Best Paper Engineering (US)

2017 

  • Owner and publisher, Alanna Max 

2015 

  • Awarded one of the 50 best books on diversity in the last 50 years by the Guardian Newspaper
  • Centre for Literature in Primary Education core list (Early Years) UK
  • African American Literature Bookclub (AALB) Top 154 Recommended African-American Children’s Books 

2014 

  • Launched Chicken Newspaper for Children. A quarterly printed tabloid-sized publication for primary school children

1994 – present

  • Over 70 books for children worldwide in more than 10 languages

1984– Silver Medal for illustration- Brno Biennale

Download my CV

3 Comments

We have just seen Ken at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and bought a copy of his book The Flute. Our little girl loved his performance of his books with the live drumming and Ken was fun, engaging and kind. Thank you for a lovely morning.

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