Eliza Wheeler is the bestselling illustrator-author of Miss Maple’s Seeds and was a recipient of the prestigious Sendak Fellowship. She has illustrated numerous books for children, including Newbery Honor book Doll Bones (Holly Black), Wherever You Go (Pat Zietlow Miller), and John Ronald’s Dragons: Story of J.R.R. Tolkien (Catherine McAlister). She is from northern Wisconsin, Los Angeles CA, and now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Represented byJen Rofe of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Publishers, please contact Jen Rofe at jennifer (at) andreabrownlit (dot) com
*Please Note: Eliza works on children’s books exclusively with traditional publishers, and is not available for hire or collaboration on projects with authors or self-publishers.
Eliza Wheeler was born in Duluth, Minnesota and grew up in the small village of Solon Springs, Wisconsin, just south of Lake Superior where the headwaters of the St. Croix and Brule Rivers meet. She was strongly influenced by the wilderness and seasons of Wisconsin, and also by her family of teachers, musicians, and artists. Drawing was her favorite form of play as a child, her emotional outlet as a teen, and her passion as an adult.
Eliza went to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, from 2001-2006, for a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in graphic design. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles with her designer/filmmaker husband, Adam Wheeler, and spent several years working as an in-house and freelance designer before realizing that graphic design is a terrible profession for someone who hates working on the computer as much as she does. She returned to paper and ink, and began exploring the idea of pursuing illustration work. In 2009, Eliza attended her first conference of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and, after the first keynote speech, she knew she had found her creative “home” and began building her illustration portfolio and writing picture book manuscripts.
In 2010, she received the SCBWI Los Angeles National Conference portfolio mentorship award, and the next year won the portfolio showcase grand prize—a trip to New York to meet with publishers. In 2012, she signed a contract for her first self-authored picture book, MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS, with editor Nancy Paulsen at Penguin Books, which released in 2013 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Since the release of MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS, Eliza has illustrated over a dozen picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels for major U.S. publishers, including Penguin Random House, Little Brown Books, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, and MacMillan publishers.
In 2017, Eliza received the prestigious Sendak Fellowship Award, which was a paid month-long illustration retreat to Scotch Hill Farm in upstate New York, owned by the late Maurice Sendak. It was there that she created a mock-up for her second self-authored picture book, HOME IN THE WOODS, a story inspired by her grandmother’s childhood in northern Wisconsin during the Great Depression. The book will be published by Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Random House Books in the fall of 2019.
Her love of children’s literature allows her to experience her own childhood again—to reconnected with and express her imagination as vividly as when she was building forts in the woods and playing with dolls. Little has changed; only now those worlds she imagined then she has the ability to capture and share now in the form of pictures and words.
Publisher client list
Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Random House Books
McElderry/Simon and Schuster Books
Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Little Brown Books
Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan
Little Pickle Press
A bulleted list of very cool things
- A Home in the Woods is a finalist in The Minnesota Book Awards Finalist for Children's Literature
- Sendak Fellowship Award Winner, 2017
- Wherever You Go receives SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, 2016
- Wherever You Go gets starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews
- Doll Bones by Holly Black, wins a Newbery Honor award, January 2014
- Miss Maple's Seeds debuts on the New York Times Bestseller List, April 28, 2013
- SCBWI 2011 Los Angeles International Conference Portfolio Grand Prize
- SCBWI 2010 Los Angeles International Conference Mentorship Award
- Illustration West 47 International Juried Exhibition, 2009, Society of Illustrators Los Angeles
- SCBWI member, 2009-present
Represented by Jen Rofe of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Publishers please contact: Jen Rofe at jennifer (at) andreabrownlit (dot) com
Hi! Before contacting me, please read:
– I do not currently do school visits, but please feel free to send me contact info for your school or program and I’ll add you to the list of those interested. If/when I develop a program, you’ll be the first to know!
– I, unfortunately, do not have time to give out free critiques, project advice, or career advice…writers and illustrators interested in the children’s book industry can find great info at Underdown.org and join The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators at SCBWI.org.
Thanks very much,
Email me at: eliza (at) wheelerstudio (dot) com