Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx. She now lives in Manhattan.
She has written and illustrated thirteen children's books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John Jay Harvey. Her most recent children's book, 13 Words, was a collaboration with Lemony Snicket.
Kalman is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the "New Yorkistan" cover in 2001. Maira is currently creating an illustrated column for The New Yorker based on travels to museums and libraries.
Recent projects include illustrating Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style. A small opera based on the text was composed by Nico Muhly. She has created two monthly online columns for the New York Times; the first, The Principles of Uncertainty (2006-07), was a narrative journal of her life. The second, And The Pursuit of Happiness (2009) was a year long exploration of American History and democracy beginning with a story on the inauguration of Barack Obama.
In her own words: "born. bucolic childhood. culture-stuffed adolescence. played piano. stopped. danced. stopped. wrote. discarded writing. drew. reinstated writing. married Tibor Kalman and collaborated at iconoclastic yet successful design studio. wrote and painted children's books. worried. took up Ping-Pong. relaxed. wrote and painted for many magazines. cofounded the Rubber Band Society. amused. children: two. dog: one."
Maira Kalman's website
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In this quirky and delightfully off-kilter TED talk, Maira Kalman talks about her work as an illustrator - from covers of The New Yorker, to children's books, to books for adults.
Maira Kalman on Her Life as an Illustrator, TED Conference (2007)
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