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Gene Barretta



Gene Barretta is a self-taught illustrator with a BFA in Film Studies from NYU. Before launching his career as an illustrator, he worked for many years in film and television production. He has written, animated, and scored several films for Sesame Street and designed characters for the Jim Henson Company. The pacing and layout of his illustrations reflect a cinematic sensibility inspired by his filmmaking background. His stories often explore connections to the past, and the historical origins of modern objects and ideas. Gene is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed books, Now and Ben, Neo Leo, and Timeless Thomas. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son.




Client List


Henry Holt & Co.
The Jim Henson Company
Sesame Street
Between the Lions
SRA McGraw-HIll
Houghton Mifflin
Tommy Nelson Publishing
Intervisual Books



Awards / Honors


2013 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year - Timeless Thomas

2013 Now & Ben named one of School Library Journal's 20 Outstanding Nonfiction Books/Core Essentials

2013 Cooks Prize Honor for Timeless Thomas: How Edison Changed Our Lives

2012 Kirkus Starred Review for Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives

2012 Zoola Palooza chosen for the 2012 IRA Teacher's Choice Reading List
2011 Zoola Palooza chosen among Amazon's Best Books of the Month for June
2010 NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 list for Neo Leo
2010 Teacher's Choice Booklist by The International Reader's Association for Neo Leo
2009 Children's Book of the Month Club for Neo Leo
2009 Scholastic Instructor's Magazine's "First-Rate Biographies" for Neo Leo
2008 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts by The National Council of Teachers of English for Dear Deer 2007 Carolyn W. Field Award
2007 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Readers by The National Council for Social Studies and the Children's Book Council for Now & Ben
2007 Mom Tested Books of the Year in "Parenting" magazine for Dear Deer
2006 Number 3 on The New York Times Best Seller List for Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog  


Pirates on the Farm, written by Denette Fretz, illustrated by Gene Barretta  

"Chaos reigns in this humorous and heartwarming first book in the Next Door series, in which pirates become neighbors to a staid farm family...Barretta's illustrations capture the hilarious incongruity of the pirates' attempts to join their new community."

–Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta...  

"Barretta's approach minimizes the clutter, and his overall organization... makes the book especially user-friendly for young readers... The lively illustrations, with spots of humor, help bring the more technical material down to child's-eye level."

The New York Times


"Distinctive cartoon illustrations infused with 18th-century warmth and 21st-century humor..."

School Library Journal

Zoola Palooza: A Book of Homographs, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta...  

"[Kids will] enjoy Barretta’s wit and the atmosphere of controlled chaos in the high-energy watercolor illustrations."



"Barretta's vibrant watercolors, filled with a rainbow assortment of animals in energetic poses..."

School Library Journal

Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta...  
"With its breezy format and succinct text, the book delivers facts in an assuredly kid-friendly style..."
—Publishers Weekly
Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta...  

"A curiosity for young children and a pleasant addition to school units that include homophones..."



Published Books
Henry Holt
Square Fish
Henry Holt
Henry Holt
 Square Fish
Houghton Mifflin Harcout
Penguin Group
Penguin Group


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