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🎧 The Reader's Heart | Guest: Mike Curato


I've loved every episode of The Reader's Heart, but this one is special for several reasons. First, I've known Mike for a few years and share a passion for RuPaul's Drag Race. Second, Mike's debut YA graphic novel, Flamer, is a book of my heart. And the reasons Mike chooses to create art for kids whose experiences are similar to his own are not only powerful, but they also (I think) shine in the stories he chooses to tell. I started this podcast to give kid-lit creators a platform for sharing these very stories. I can't wait for you to hear our conversation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Mike Curato is an author and illustrator of picture books and graphic novels. He is the creator of the beloved and award-winning Little Elliot book series as well as Where Is Bina Bear? His highly acclaimed (and sometimes banned) debut young adult graphic novel, Flamer, was awarded the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the 2021 Massachusetts Book Award. He’s also the illustrator of the picture books All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, The Power of One by Trudy Ludwig, What If… and The Sharey Godmother, both written by Samantha Berger, and What Are You? by Christian Trimmer.

Born and raised outside of New York City, Mike has been drawing ever since he could hold a pencil. He attended Syracuse University, earning a BFA in illustration.

After college, he worked as a graphic designer for the better part of ten years until his dream of making picture books became a reality in 2012 when Henry Holt Books for Young Readers offered Mike a three-book deal.

These days, Mike lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his dog, Leia. His pastimes include karaoke, hiking, and all things dessert-related.



Please enjoy a special discount of 20% off the titles mentioned in this episode (or others of your choice) by visiting Bookelicious and using the code JENNIFERLAGARDE. Note: I do not make any money from the sales, but I am delighted that you get to save some!

Connect with Mike


Rooted in the belief that our world needs the magic of children’s literature now more than ever, the Reader’s Heart podcast captures conversations with authors and illustrators about children's literature as a vehicle for empathy and joy in a dark world. I'm so excited about this project and it's my wish that it brings you as much light and hope as it has brought me.

Special thanks to Corinna Luyken for creating the beautiful illustration that will serve as the show's logo. I've always found Corinna's art so moving and she perfectly captured the spirit of what I am trying to do, which is to put warmth and love into the world during a time when so many are working to limit kids' access to the warmth and love inherent in children's literature. (Also, don't forget, you can use the discount above to buy Corinna's books from Bookelicious, too!)

Weekly episodes will drop on Tuesdays. Once you've had a chance to listen, I hope you will consider leaving The Reader's Heart a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review! Podcast reviews are one of the best ways to support your favorite shows and help others find these conversations.



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