Nancy Tafuri first began drawing at a very young age. She recalls that her mother “thought [she] would make a great interior decorator.” But Tafuri had other ideas: “The more I thought about it the more I realized that I didn't want to fix up other people's houses. I had no idea that you could grow up to be a children's book illustrator.”
Nancy's first big break as an illustrator for children's books came when she was given the opportunity to work on George Shannon's The Piney Woods Peddler in 1980. She modeled her illustrations on her husband and the old Pennsylvania gristmill they were living in at the time, and the book was published in 1981. The Piney Woods Peddler proceeded to win a Children's Choice citation from the International Reading Association and Tafuri's output has been prolific ever since.
Nancy says that when she was little she loved animals and wanted to draw them. As an illustrator, she always works very hard on “getting all the facts correct in my illustrations. Each animal or rock formation has to be correct. Even though my books aren't nonfiction, the feeling of accuracy has to be there.”
Nancy has received several citations and awards for her work, including the Caldecott Honor Award for Have You Seen My Duckling? She lives in the country with her husband and daughter.