I feel honored to be creating literature for young children. The early years in a person’s life are so important, I can only hope that my books can contribute in some small way to that growth.
— Nancy Tafuri

Nancy Tafuri is best known as the creator of  Have You Seen My Duckling? a Caldecott Honor Book described by Parent’s Choice as “beautifully precise yet emotionally affecting.” Tafuri has authored more than 50 books over 30 years for the very young.

Artist and writer Nancy Tafuri has been creating books for very young children since the late 1970s. Whether providing illustrations for writers such as Charlotte Pomerantz, Kevin Henkes, and Mirra Ginsburg, or creating art for her original picture-book texts, Tafuri is consistently praised by critics for her simple and uncluttered yet imaginative art. Noting her use of “tiny details,” generously sized shapes, and “sunny colors,” a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that Tafuri's picture book Five Little Chicks “proves once again why Tafuri ... is a favorite with youngsters.” 

If I Had a Paka: Poems in Eleven Languages, which Tafuri illustrated for Pomerantz, was selected as a Jane Addams Honor Book.

Tafuri’s talent has been tapped by Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins Publishers, Scholastic Press, Scholastic Inc., Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Simon & Schuster  Children’s  Publishing  Division and Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, Little, Brown and Company.

Tafuri was born in Brooklyn, New York. For the first ten years of her life she was an only child and says that this helped her to learn to entertain herself with stories and art.

Tafuri entered the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1964. Her first job was as an assistant art director for the publishing firm Simon & Schuster. She left two years later and married Thomas Tafuri, a fellow student at the School of Visual Arts.

The Tafuri’s opened their own graphic design studio, in 1971. Their primary product was dust jackets for hardcover books. They opened their business in New York City, but eventually moved  their studio and home to Connecticut. At this time, Nancy was able to devote all of her time to writing  and  illustration.

When Tafuri found herself illustrating children’s books, either her own or other authors’, she felt she had found her life’s calling and a strong sense of joy from creating them. She loves to take a small portion of the text and create a visual representation that children can grasp and remember. In 1989, when Cristina was born, Nancy began to feel even more strongly motivated to illustrate for children. Her work seemed even more important and more personal.


Connecticut Book Award Finalist - 2015 - The Busy Little Squirrel

Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College of Education - 2014 - The Busy Little Squirrel

Southeastern Connecticut Selection for One Book Every Child Project - 2013 - The Big Storm

Winner of the NAPPA Gold Award for Pre-School & Upper level - 2012 - All Kinds of Kisses

KIRKUS Classics selection and recipient of a starred review - 2012 - All Kinds of Kisses

Corporate Children’s Book Council Award - 2010 - Blue Goose

Oprah’s Book Club Kid’s Reading List Selection, Recommended by the American Library Association - 2010 - Blue Goose and Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails

Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Illustration - 2008 - The Busy Little Squirrel

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review - 2008 - Blue Goose

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award - 2004- You Are Special, Little One

Reading Magic Award, Parenting magazine - 2001 - Silly Little Goose

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award -  2000 -  Snowy, Flowy, Blowy: A Twelve Months Rhyme

Recommended Picture Book Honor, Parent’s Choice - 1999 - Snowy, Flowy, Blowy: A Twelve Months Rhyme

Recognition of Excellence California Children's Book and Video Awards, Preschool and Toddler Category - 1990 - Follow Me!

Ten Best Children's Books citation, Redbook - 1988 - Junglewalk

Fanfare Honor Book citation, Horn Book -1986 - Who's Counting?

Please Touch Museum Book Award - 1987 - Who's Counting?

Caldecott Honor Book, American Library Association - 1985 - Have You Seen My Duckling?

Jane Addams Honor Book designation - 1983 -  If I Had a Paka

Best Books of 1983 citation, School Library Journal - 1983 -  Early Morning in the Barn

Children's Choice citation, International Reading Association - 1982 - The Piney Woods Peddler