Dave Szalay is an award-winning illustrator, designer and aspiring writer who was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. And now he’s joining the Reinberger.
As a children’s book illustrator, Szalay creates whimsical images with digital drawing and painting techniques. “I feel traditions in storytelling and particularly books for children are extremely important to people of all ages,” Szalay says. “Books facilitate essential interaction between children and adults, and help foster, language, imagination and establish a child’s view of the world.”
His debut picture book, The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems About Our 16th President, written by Eileen Meyer, was published in November 2019 with praise for Szalay’s “attractive, folksy art” from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Other picture books illustrated by Szalay include The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t (written by Artie Bennett) and Travel Guide for Monsters (written by Lori Degman), which will be released in April 2020.
Now as author-illustrator in residence at the Reinberger, Szalay hopes to develop and publish more quality books for children and their respective caretakers and educators. He views this residency as an exciting opportunity for professional development in writing and illustrating children’s literature. Szalay looks forward to engaging with students and practitioners at Kent State through various events, like the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth and the Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium. He also plans to conduct scholarly research on storytelling with visual narratives by analyzing works in the Marantz and Reinberger collections.
Szalay has received the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) National Portfolio Showcase Honor Award, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Illustration, the Highlights Pewter Award for Best Illustration and other awards from illustration and advertising competitions. In addition to his work as an illustrator and designer, Szalay is an associate professor at The Myers School of Art at The University of Akron.
To learn more about Dave Szalay and see some of his work, visit his website.