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Shawna J. C. Tenney, Storyteller


My childhood was spent creating imaginary worlds in backyard forts, playing dress up with old hand-me-downs, and hanging out in the fairy tale section of my library. I gained a love for picture books at an early age from my mom who read to me every night. Some of my favorites were:  Imogene's Antlers by David Small, Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran and Barbara Cooney, and The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg.


In school I was much more interested in drawing on the back of my school work than doing the actual work itself. Though I loved to draw, I hadn't imagined it was something I'd pursue as a career, when I found myself accidentally placed in an AP Art class due to a scheduling conflict. This proved fortuitous as I went on to graduate from BYU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration!


Today I tell my stories through color, composition, whimsical characters, and words. I create my paintings digitally in Photoshop and Procreate, but love challenging myself to make my work look as traditional as possible.


I'm inspired by my connections with other authors and illustrators and creatives of all kinds. I volunteer for my SCBWI chapter, and currently serve as the Illustrator Coordinator for the Utah/Southern Idaho region. I am the former host fof the Stories Unbound Podcast and currently host several episodes a year for the Picturebooking Podcast with Nick Patton. I enjoy talking with the picture book audience, amazing children, at school visits, as much as I can. I also love meeting up with my critique friends every month.

I love adventuring with my family. I am obsessed with taking too many pictures and scrap-booking them all, (to my family's chagrin). I enjoy sushi, Indian food, and dark chocolate, British shows, old movies, a night at the ballet, symphony or comedy club, hiking, and renaissance fairs. Occasionally I talk to animals. On good days, they talk back. I currently reside in Utah with my two daughters, two cats, and one husband.


Bronze IPPY Award in the Holiday Book Category- Rosie the Reindeer, 2012

Maryland Blue Crab Award in the Transitional Nonfiction Category- Blood! Not Just a Vampire Drink, 2023

Origins Award for the Best Social/Light Board Game- Creature Comforts Board Game, 2023

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