The Reading Culture Welcomes Shadra Strickland

Masthead Waves

One of Shadra Strickland’s earliest memories is drawing underneath her grandma’s table. From a young age, she had a visual, creative mind. As the daughter of an English teacher, she was an avid reader and words were important, but picture book illustrations opened her up to a whole new side of storytelling. With this love for art and drawing, Shadra soaked in every color and every shape from those books. As an adult she has pursued a career in illustrating children’s literature, earning many accolades.


But throughout her experiences illustrating other authors’ stories, a storyteller within Shadra began to emerge, and in 2023 she made the leap to author-illustrator with “Jump In!”.

In this episode, Shadra takes us through the important artistic influences and moments in her life that led to her debut solo picture book. She shares the elements of art that stand out to her and how she applies them to her work. We also discuss the rise and ethics of AI art. Shadra is absolutely hilarious and generous, and I loved learning about the illustrators who inspired her and who have nurtured her career. 


For her reading challenge, Move It!, Shadra shared a list of picture books (including her own) that will make you want to get up and move. I invite you to check it out, and for Beanstack clients, use the challenge on your site!


This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Jen Siderius, the media specialist at New Market Elementary School in Maryland. She shares a heartwarming story about the value of making different book formats available to students and their families. In this case, the family has one member in the military, and jeez, this story (again, I know) brought me to tears. 


Listen to the full episode, “Inflection Point: Shadra Strickland Puts the Dash in Author-Illustrator,” on  Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it.


Follow the podcast on Instagram @thereadingculturepod to see reels of our authors and librarians and to learn about our exciting upcoming giveaways! #readingculturefam (for life!)


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