For twenty years, Cynthia Rylant's story of childhood in the Appalachian Mountains has been an enduring favorite. Growing up in the mountains is depicted with a spare, lyrical text and beautiful, tender illustrations by Diane Goode. The book was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal. To celebrate its twentieth anniversary, When I Was Young in the Mountains is being released with a commemorative copper-colored band.
As a child, Diane Goode loved books and art. She has been drawing ever since she can remember. Of Italian and French descent, she enjoyed the richness of both cultures and traveled to Europe every summer visiting family as well as cathedrals and museums. She feels that these early impressions helped shape her appreciation of art and life. She studied art history at Queens College, but switched to fine arts, in which she earned her degree. Her love for Europe shows in the setting of many of her books Paris in particular, where two of her recent picture books, Where's Our Mama? and Mama's Perfect Present. take place. She drew on her experience of living for a short time in Pennsylvania, to do the art work for Cynthia Rylant's story of Appalachia, When I Was Young in the Mountains, for which she was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal. Diane Goode has illustrated 27 books for children, including anthologies and stories she has written herself. She has always been drawn to the classics and has illustrated many of the traditional fairy tales. Of her process, she says: "I always begin with a rough dummy and then work on the individual pages, sketching very loosely and quickly to establish movement and composition. I do these dozens of times, repositioning enlarging, reducing, adding and omitting. There are always hundreds of sketches for each book. It sounds tedious, but it is the most exciting part of creating a book. When I m satisfied with these, I do the final art. All of my work is done on opaline parchment, a thin but strong paper. I sketch lightly in pencil and use water colors applied with very fine sable brushes. Sometimes I use color pencils with the paint to soften the atmosphere." Diane Goode now lives in Watchung, New Jersey, with her husband David, an author and college professor. Their son, Peter, attends Rhode Island School of Design.