photograph of charlene chua, illustrator

Photo by Wayne Santos

Charlene Chua (she/they) has illustrated many things over the years for kids of all ages.  Her work has won several illustration awards, while books she has illustrated have been nominated for OLA Blue Spruce & Silver Birch, Lambda Literary Awards, USBBY Outstanding International Books, and others. They are the illustrator of the 2023 Stonewall Book Award Children's & Young Adult winner, Love, Violet
Charlene's author/illustrator debut, Hug? was published by Kids Can Press in 2020.
Charlene was born and grew up in Singapore, and moved to Canada in 2007. They started work in 1998 as a web designer, and went on to become a senior designer, web producer and interactive project manager.  However, what they really wanted to do was draw pictures all day. In 2003, they decided to give it a go, and after a few years, they became a full-time illustrator.
When she is not making art, she enjoys cooking, reading, and playing with her cats. She now lives with her husband (and cats!) in Hamilton, Ontario.
They are represented by Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary for all book projects.
Extra stuff!
- 'Chua' can be pronounced several different ways. I suggest 'CHOO-ah'

- My pronouns are She and/or They. Either or both are fine.
- The cat in HUG? is based on my cat, Uno, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2019
- I really, really, really... like cats.
Books 
Coming Soon
Amy Wu and the Lantern Festival (2025) by Kat Zhang, Simon & Schuster
Things That Go Bump in the Day (2024) by Melinda Beatty, Dial
Hocus and Pocus series (TBA) by A.R Capetta, Candlewick
Boys Don't Fry (2023) by Kimberly Lee, FSG
Amy Wu and the Ribbon Dance (2023) by Kat Zhang, Simon & Schuster
Out Now!
Kindness is a Golden Heart (2022) by Jessica Kluthe, Orca
My Lala (2022) by Thomas King, Tundra PRH
Soccer Baby (2022) by Diane Adams, Viking Kids
Bye Bye Binary (2022) by Eric Geron, HarperCollins
Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome (2022) by Kat Zhang, Simon & Schuster
Love, Violet (2022) by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, FSG
Football Baby (Sep 2021) by Diane Adams, Viking Kids
Pinkie Promises (2021) by Elizabeth Warren, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Oliver Bounces Back (2021) by Alison Hughes, Scholastic Canada
Raindrops to Rainbow (2021) by John Micklos Jr., Penguin Workshop
Baseball Baby (2021) by Diane Adams, Viking Kids
Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon (2020) by Kat Zhang, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Hug? (2020) by Charlene Chua, Kids Can Press
Going Up! (2020) by Sherry J. Lee, Kids Can Press
Genius Jolene (2020) by Sara Cassidy, Orca Books
Amy Wu and The Perfect Bao (2019) by Kat Zhang, Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster
Shubh Diwali! (2019) by Chitra Soundar, Albert Whitman
The Pencil (2019) by Susan Avingaq & Maren Vsetula, Inhabit Media
The Wind Plays Tricks (2019) by Virginia Howard, Albert Whitman
The Great Googlini (2018) by Sara Cassidy, Orca Books
Elisapee & Her Baby Seagull (2017) by Nancy Mike, Inhabit Media
Gokul Village & The Magic Fountain (2017) by Jeni L. Chapman &‎ Bal Das, Big, Bold, Beautiful World Media 
How Nivi Got Her Names (2017) by Laura Deal, Inhabit Media
Akilak's Adventure (2016) by Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, Inhabit Media
Leah's Mustache Party (2016) by Nadia Mike, Inhabit Media
Fishing with Grandma (2016) by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula, Inhabit Media
Julie Black Belt: The Belt of Fire (2013)  by Oliver Chin, Immedium Publishing
Julie Black Belt (2008) by Oliver Chin, Immedium Publishing
Awards & Programs
- 2023 Stonewall Book Award / Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award  (Love, Violet)
- 2023 Charlotte Huck Honor Book (Love, Violet)
- 2023 Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Canada (My Lala)
- 2022 Lambda Literary Awards finalist (Love, Violet)
- 2022 Dolly Parton Imagination Library (Raindrops to Rainbow)
- 2021 Jumpstart Read for the Record (Amy Wu & the Patchwork Dragon)
- 2021/2022 Chocolate Lily Award shortlist (Genius Jolene)
- 2021 BC & Yukon Book Prize/Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize (Genius Jolene)
- 2021 Blue Spruce nomination (Going Up!)
- 2021 Silver Birch nomination (Genius Jolene)
- 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List (The Pencil)
- 2020 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award shortlist (The Pencil)
- 2020 SCBWI Crystal Kite Finalist, Canada East (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao)
- 2020 Ontario Library Association Best Bets (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao)
- 2019 Toronto Public Library First & Best (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao)
- 2019 Shining Willow Finalist (Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull)
- 2019/2020 Chocolate Lily Award shortlist (The Great Googlini)
- Finalist, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards (Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull)
- Finalist, First Nation Communities READ 2018/19 (Akilak's Adventure)
- Kirkus Best Picture Books (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao)
- Kirkus Best Middle-Grade books (The Great Googlini)
- Kirkus starred review (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, The Great Googlini)
- Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens Selections (Fishing with Grandma, Akilak's Adventure, Elisapee and her Baby Seagull)
Interviews
Selected Clients
Simon & Schuster, Penguin Workshop, Viking Books, FSG, MacMillan, Harper Kids, McDonald's, Tully's Coffee, The Wall Street Journal, Inhabit Media Publishing, Albert Whitman & Company, Orca Books, Kids Can Press, Scholastic Canada, Cartamundi Cards, Hearts 4 Hearts Girls, OWL, Chickadee, Chirp,  Aga Khan Museum, HGTV Canada, World Vision Canada

Charlene in her original studio.

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