Paige Billin-Frye

   Paige Billin-Frye takes her inspiration from all the world around her. Her son’s bedroom, her neighbor’s front porch, and the local playground are some of the settings you’ll find in her work. The thrill of illustration for her is in taking these real life places and activities and harnessing them into artwork for children.

   Showing young people the world has a true responsibility to it– the imagery all around us shapes our understanding of what is true. She researches her books thoroughly so that she will know what sorts of clothes kids are wearing, what toys they are playing with, and trends in general. For the illustrations of the book What’s Out There?, Paige went as far as to contact NASA to identify what exactly was the color of the parachute on the Viking Lander that went to Mars!

   Paige studied illustration and design at Washington University in St. Louis, and now she lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, two sons, and several pets.

Selected Reviews of Paige Billin-Frye’s Books

The Halloween book of facts and fun
by Wendie Old
Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye.
   Old and Billin-Frye have packed this collaboration with lots of “Facts and Fun” about the origins and history of Halloween. The picture book format should not mislead anyone; this work is text-dense and divided into nine chapters, including “The Tale of the Jack-o’-Lantern,” “Witches,” and “Why Do We Wear Costumes and Trick-or-Treat?” Each chapter is typically a couple of pages in length and illustrated with full-page pictures or insets that clearly support the text. The colorful cartoon-like drawings are gentle–not even Frankenstein appears threatening. Little jokes are inserted along the way, such as “What is an October hog dog called? A Hallowienie.” The light-hearted approach makes this book useful with young listeners, while the detailed information will hold the interest of older readers. Some of the historical facts could be quite grim but are well-handled, with the facts delivered in straightforward prose. She does not gloss over subjects such as the deaths of many “witches” or of the vile actions of the real Vlad Dracula III, but she does not dwell on the gruesome details either. The explanations are suitable for writing reports or filling in the gaps of Halloween lore. Parents and teachers will appreciate the information, as well as the directions for party games, recipes, safety tips, and riddles included in the backmatter. This is an excellent addition to the body of Halloween literature. Like the author’s and illustrator’s previous collaboration, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun, this is well worth adding to any collection. 2007, Albert Whitman, $15.95. Ages 4 to 9. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children’s Literature).

This is the matzah
by Abby Levine
Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye.
   A sweet and touching look at Passover told in rhyme and brimming with heart. Max and his sister Ruth experience–along with their extended family–“this night so different from all other nights” during which they share a miraculous story of courage and freedom. The rhyme’s cadence make it a great read-aloud, to be enjoyed in the days before the holiday and, perhaps, while waiting for the seder to begin. For non-Jews, the book is a good way to introduce a little multiculturalism into a household, or classroom. (And speaking of multiculturalism–the author has leftovers being used in a dish called “matzah lasagna.” Who knew?) Billin-Frye’s cartoony illustrations, somewhat reminiscent of the popular “Rug Rats” series, will amuse young readers, especially touches like Ruth pushing a little shopping cart full of matzah, or the children running through the house to search for the afikomen. Taken together, words and pictures connote warmth, tradition and the true enjoyment of a holiday. 2005, Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95. Ages 2 up. Reviewer: Donna Freedman (Children’s Literature).

What Columbus Found: It Was Orange, It Was Round
by Jane Kurtz

Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye.
   This simple rhyming text is witty and engaging. It tells that Christopher Columbus, in 1492, receives funding from the queen of Spain, sails for India and ends up in America. While there he discovers, among other things, a new vegetable. He takes his discovery back to Spain in what is described as a “lumpy, bumpy trip.” Then he plants the seeds and waits. Middle of the book pages are intriguing as they keep the reader turning pages to find out what will come from the growing seeds. An “ah-ha” feeling is achieved when the reader learns that the final products are pumpkins. The last few pages stress how pumpkins are used and that readers can remember where they first were found. The book’s simple sentences in big print and the easy flowing rhyme allow readers to be successful with independent reading. Fun illustrations add to the story and provide clues to decoding. This is a Level 1 book in the “Ready-to-Read” series. 2007, Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster, $3.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury (Children’s Literature).

Program Details

   Paige talks about the process of illustrating a book, including how the pictures complement and add to the text as well as how she does research and how important research skills are for picture-making. For older kids she’ll also talk about the training of artists and the possibilities of careers in the arts. She loves to take questions and answers from the kids.

Her Program Fees are:
   $275 for one or two 50-minute sessions back-to-back, $75 for each additional session, up to 4 in one day. Travel expenses charged for visits outside the Washington metropolitan area. She is available for children grades 2 and up.

Additional Information

To learn more about Paige and her publications please visit www.paigebillinfrye.com.