Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and immigrated to the United States while still a young child. With a name that means ‘star,’ she seems destined to be just that! Dow’s illustration debut, Maya Lin (Christy Ottaviano Books; 2017), a collaboration with Jeanne Walker Harvey, garnered numerous accolades; in part, a JLG Selection, a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, and an Amazon Best Book of the Year. Since then, with 11 books published and/or to come–stay tuned this fall for Hugsby (Viking; November 2020), her very own debut as an author/illustrator–Dow’s work has amassed abundant praise, including starred reviews and awards; notably, the 2019 Cook Prize for Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker (Christy Ottaviano Books).
From Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, by Helaine Becker
(Christy Ottaviano Books; Henry Holt/Macmillan) The 2019 Cook Prize Winner, A Junior Library Guild Selection, An NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, A NCTM Mathical Honor Book, among other accolades
Dow primarily works digitally and uses collaged overlays of traditional digital media to add stylistic interest and textural elements to her illustration. Take a peek at Dow’s process by watching thisBehind the Art video for Titan and the Wild Boars by Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran (Harper Collins; 2019). In her non-fiction work–representative of why SCBWI bestowed their inaugural Narrative Art Award to her for “excellence (in) incorporating narrative sequence and storytelling”–Dow’s art is dramatic, realistic, and historically accurate, while still child-friendly. She applies that same attention to detail to her graphically bold, fun works of fiction, which also reflect her passion and determination to champion diversity in children’s books.
Fun fact: Dow didn’t initially pursue a career in children’s books. Instead, she put her creative pursuits aside to become a pediatrician. After having children of her own, she was again drawn into the creative community. Lucky us! Although she is retired from clinical medicine, Dow still teaches medical students part-time, while writing and illustrating full time.
One Girl (Abrams; October 2020) …a picture book about the power of reading and how one child can change the world. Yes; even the smallest spark can start a fire. Yes; even one girl can change the world.
Dow is a co-RA for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI. She lives in Colorado with her husband of almost three decades, three artistic daughters, and a handful of small pets. Dow also enjoys fast and furious sewing projects and easy hikes.