kristen zajac, children's author
meet kristen's illustrators
" 'What is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?' "

  Alice in Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

Indeed, while authors create stories, it is the illustrators who breathe life into them, making the characters spring forth from the written page in vivid, brilliant colors and actions.  As an author, I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with gifted artists Jennifer Thomas Houdeshell on Ebeneezer's Cousin and Julie Tucker on Chasing the Spirit of Service.  I thank them for making my stories come to life and sharing their talent with children everywhere.      
-Kristen Zajac


Meet artist Jennifer Thomas Houdeshell
, Illustrator of Ebeneezer's Cousin.

Jennifer Thomas Houdeshell, professional artist and illustrator, has been enthralled with picture books ever since she was a tiny, tree climbing child.  In fact, she did a lot of reading and drawing up there in those trees.  After she came down and went to college and graduated from Wright State University in Ohio, she shared  her joy in art and the creative process with children and teens in the public schools for seventeen years as an award winning art educator, blessing them with her boundless enthusiasm and being blessed by them in return.  Now, in the midst of her career as a professional artist, she continues that treasured person-to-person arts connection by teaching part time at the Museum of Florida Art and as the art therapist at the Agape Clubhouse for the homeless.

Houdeshell has art work in private and business collections in the United States and Germany.  Her work has been exhibited in many museums and galleries including a recent solo museum show. The main body of her work is figurative with an emphasis upon child nurturing relationships, religious themes, and social issues such as child labor and the environment.  In addition, she has done commercial work for a variety of  businesses and churches as well as public and private murals.  Peter and the Silent Siren, written by Gigi Morales David, was the first picture book she illustrated. Now, she is delighted to have illustrated Kristen Zajac's endearing and poignantly powerful, Ebeneezer's Cousin

In her artist's statement, Houdeshell writes "Art is my affirmation of life and the power of love. It is my spiritual link with my Creator, the haunting, lilting melody that leads me both in times of sunshine and of shadow."  She wishes all children much sunshine and confides that she still loves treehouses.  Jennifer and her husband, Walt, live in Florida and have two talented daughters. 

A member of the Society of Childrens' Bookwriters and Illustrators, Jennifer's website is


Meet artist Julie Tucker, Illustrator of Chasing the Spirit of Service. 

Daughter of a talented artist and sibling of a writer, Illustrator Julie Tucker was literally born into a house belonging to the arts.  "Having a mother for an artist really made my whole world colorful and joyous growing up.  Art has always been a part of my life.  My mother had crayons in my hand from the moment I was old enough to use them.  Art has always been a friend to me and a constant in my life.  It has seen me through dark times of illness and injuries and carried me into the light."

Julie is a 1999 graduate of The Savannah College of Art and Design and has exhibited her work in a variety of different venues.  Her work can be seen in corporate and private collections throughout the U.S.  Her freelance work includes book illustrations, portraits, promotional material for businesses, murals, program design covers, logos, local church publications, and architectural renderings.  Her mural commissions grace the walls of a church and several libraries throughout Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.  Julie's work has appeared in a television documentary and in the show open for Creative License, a series of PBS specials on the art and artists of Tennessee.

Julie enjoys teaching adults and children of all ages.  She has taught at various art museums including; DeLand Museum of Art and Harris House of The Atlantic Center for the Visual Arts in Florida and The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Sarratt Student Center at Vanderbilt University, The Renaissance Center and The Harpeth Art Center in Tennessee.  Julie has also taught in the public school system throughout various art grants. She hopes to encourage children to follow their dreams wherever they may lead them and give them the confidence to be whatever they want to be!

Julie's website is
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