Meet the Author/Illustrator

Robert J. Blake

Portrait of Robert J. Blake

When Robert Blake was growing up, his best talent was his ability to pretend. "In school I had a very special teacher who recognized this and taught me how to really read, how to pretend with words, and how to feel the words," he says. "The more I read, the more 'what ifs' came to mind. And the more I asked 'what if?' the more I felt like writing."

When he began to write and illustrate his own books, Blake decided he would try to "live" each of the characters he wrote about. Ever since, he has traveled to the locations where his stories take place, so he can write and paint right there. "For me," says Blake, "that is living a story, and I hope it makes my stories feel real."

Robert Blake grew up with lots of animals in his house — dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and two flying squirrels! Plus a tarantula. Do you think his love of animals shows in his illustrations for Akiak? How does he show the sled dogs' emotions in his artwork?

Photography Credit


Other Books Written and Illustrated by Robert J. Blake

  • Dog
  • The Perfect Spot
  • Spray

Other Books Illustrated by Robert J. Blake

  • Fledgling
    (edited by Patricia Gauch)
  • Yudonsi: A Tale from the Canyons
    (edited by Patricia Gauch)
  • The Angel of Mill Street
    (written by Frances Ward Weller)
  • Mississippi Mud: Three Prairie Journals
    (written by Ann Warren Turner)
  • Riptide
    (written by Frances Ward Weller)
  • Maggie and Silky and Joe
    (written by Amy Ehrlich)