Kendall Hailey grew up with a playwright father and a novelist mother and Kendall started writing the moment she learned how to print. (Apparently, no one was available to take dictation.) Her first book was THE DAY I BECAME AN AUTODIDACT -- autodidact being the most pretentious word she could find for a self-educated person. It was a diary of what she read and what she learned during the four years Amy and her other friends were at college. It was voted one of the Best Books of the Year by the American Library Association. At the age of twenty-one Kendall was a published author, but she was NOT grown-up. THE GROWING UP BOOK was her attempt to explain to herself how to do it. (It worked.)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Amy is a self-taught artist. Inspired by her father, who was a dentist and painter, she would spend hours in his studio and picked up her first brush at age 2. Her father taught her to try everything in art and her mother fostered and encouraged her creativity. She creates art from found materials and objects bought at estate sales, to more "traditional" paintings and illustrations. Amy has done murals on both east and west coasts and has always volunteered at schools and hospitals teaching art. She loves making custom pet portraits and works designing pieces for restaurants in NY. Amy loves jazz and and dogs and pancakes and illustrating books with Kendall.
The story of READ AND WRITE BOOKS begins with the story of Amy and Kendall and the story of Amy and Kendall began in high school.
The spark of friendship first appeared when Kendall asked a group of fellow students to guess what their math teacher had named her new baby and added a hint: "It's the name of a movie star."
"Ingrid," said Amy. The baby's name was Marlene, but Kendall knew Amy's guess of Ingrid Bergman was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Throughout the years their friendship flourished. Amy never got mad when Kendall canceled plans and Kendall never got mad when Amy canceled plans. (They both love canceling plans.)
One night when Kendall was looking at some of Amy's bold and colorful pictures, she said, "Amy, you should illustrate children's books!" and Amy answered, "Kendall, didn't you once write a children's book?"
When Amy's pictures met Kendall's words, another friendship was formed. Amy and Kendall worked and worked (and worked) on their book until they thought it was just as good as they could make it, but a children's book needs children.
Their book didn't want to just sit on the shelf watching the world go by, but then suddenly the world was in trouble. Kendall was sitting across from her son Charles, who was doing school at home this strange year just like all the other kids. She was doing one of her favorite things, writing letters, when she had an idea: What if she was sending out copies of the book? What if they could make the book all by themselves?
Amy and Kendall were not a big company. They could not make a big book. But they could make a small one! When the first small book was printed and arrived in the mail, Amy and Kendall took one look at it and fell in love. It was like holding a newborn kitten or a tiny puppy of a book.
"Our little book is so cute," said Kendall. "Don't you think kids would like a little book just like this for their own stories?"
"What if every book WE make comes with one for KIDS to make?" Amy said.
Kendall loved the idea so much she started dancing around the room. She knew Amy had found their true purpose. It was to give children what Kendall and Amy had been given by their parents, Betsy and Oliver and Patricia and Marshall.
When Kendall was very little and picked up a pencil, Betsy and Oliver said, "You are a writer." When Amy was very little and picked up a paintbrush, Patricia and Marshall said, "You are an artist."
That's what Kendall and Amy wanted the little books to whisper in the ear of every child.
Having found their life's purpose, Amy and Kendall now meet once a week on Kendall's front porch to share words and pictures for their next books. They are so excited to be making their little books that they almost never cancel... though when they do, they both love it.