Nicole Tadgell is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer whose appears in more than thirty picture books for children. The creator of whimsical characters and scenes, she is the recipient of many commendations, including the Kansas Notable Book Award, Christopher Award, Children’s Africana Book Award, Américas Award, Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award, and Growing Good Kids Award. Her books have been featured by Bank Street College of Education, Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and the New York Public Library, among others. Her books include A Fist for Joe Louis and Me, Friends for Freedom, Astronaut Annie, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, and many others.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, art has always been both an escape and a labor of love for Nicole. Frequent moves challenged her natural shyness, especially in new schools where she was the only Black child in class. “I always had pencils and paper nearby. It helped me make sense of the world around me or create imaginary worlds to live in for a while,” she says. Today, Nicole continues to bring stories to life while advocating for diversity in children’s literature. In addition to her artwork, she finds beauty, strength and solace in the practice of tai chi, which has led her through trauma and recovery, and into spiritual awakening.