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Dear Friends,

I can't believe that over a decade has passed since I started creating children’s books.  There are many people who have encouraged me in my journey to become an author/illustrator.  We have shared many experiences: both happy and sad.  We have shared joy that made us laugh till our stomachs ached and surprises to last a lifetime. 


I have been blessed to know the following cast of characters: individuals who hold such a profound importance in my life.  These people have helped me grow into a better person, painter, and thinker.


In addition, thank YOU for believing in my work. Your support allows me to continue to create meaningful and insightful books.

Peace to all,
Chris Soentpiet

My biggest cheerleader is my wife, Yin. She's my right hand, my left hand, my assistant, my muse, my everything. With Yin’s support, I can focus on my art. In fact, she is a model in many of my books. See if you can find her! Yin is also an author. We've collaborated on COOLIES, DEAR SANTA, PLEASE COME TO THE 19TH FLOOR and BROTHERS.


Mr. Janson was an exceptional (and my favorite) teacher at Grant High School in Portland, Oregon. He noticed that I had potential in the fine arts. During my senior year, Mr. Janson set-up a private corner-studio in art class and instructed me to create five paintings. He then made slides of my paintings, so my work could be showcased at different art colleges around the United States. Ultimately these showcases helped me win a scholarship from Pratt Institute in New York City. I dedicated my book, SO FAR FROM THE SEA to Mr. Janson for his faith and generosity.

Ted Lewin is my mentor and good friend. He is probably the single smartest person I know. He set a standard for me. What I saw in him, and tried to emulate, was his passion. Over the years, Ted has guided me with his artistic wisdom and wealth of knowledge. Not only is he a walking encyclopedia, he is also the greatest illustrator of our time. His paintings are dramatic and full of details. If you haven't had the privilege of seeing his work, check out his website www.tedlewin.com


I love the whimsical illustrations of Betsy Lewin. If you haven't seen her book GIGGLE, GIGGLE, QUACK, you've been living in a cave. She has won many awards and accolades, yet she remains humble and incredibly modest. Betsy is certainly one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever come across. I value her kindness, her willingness to share her life experiences, and most of all, her friendship. You can visit her at www.betsylewin.com


Here I am dancing with my beautiful and amazing mom, Harriette Hankel, at my wedding. When my sister was 12 and I was 8, my mother adopted us to live with her and her four kids. We were lucky, since kids our age were considered "too old" for adoption. But my mom knew we needed a home with love. While growing up in Oregon, my mother recognized that I was artistic, and she helped me nurture my talent by enrolling me in after-school art classes.

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Here's my sister who was adopted with me from Korea. While I was a financially-struggling college student, Ann sent me $100 a month from her job as a waitress to help cover some of my expenses (art supplies, food, books, rent). I'm so proud of Ann. She is now a successful businesswoman with three extraordinary kids!

By the time I was eight-years-old, both my biological mother and father had died - leaving behind six kids. With no parental guidance, my eldest sister, Kwisoon, made the brave decision to arrange for the adoption of Ann and me, so we could live with a new family in America. Although we had to be separated from my Korean brother and sisters, Kwisoon knew an adoption would provide us a stable, loving home and a chance at a good education. I will never forget her courage and strength. Kwisoon is now a university professor in Taegu, South Korea.


Susan Pearson was my first editor. I could never express enough gratitude to her. If I ever was able to tell Susan how eternally grateful I am to her, I'd be blue in the face. She gave me my first break in publishing: a shot at writing and illustrating my first book AROUND TOWN.

Susan is a multi-talented poet and writer, with a history in publishing. She is no-nonsense and well qualified in sharing her professional philosophies of the children's book industry. She's a force to be reckoned with.


Here is my sister Shelly Soentpiet Brady. Please go to your video store right away and rent the Emmy award-winning movie, DOOR TO DOOR. It's a story about the life of Bill Porter (pictured with Shelly) overcoming the obstacles of cerebral palsy. In the movie, you'll see why I admire Shelly and why I think Bill is a true modern day hero. To find out more about Bill, visit him at www.billporter.com

 

 

My greatest blessings are my kids. To be a supporter, a protector, and a life-guide to a young person is a privilege.

To be a father: there is no greater calling on Earth.

 


"Each of you have inspired me to stay focused and do the right thing so I can stay on track. I will never forget." -C.Soentpiet

 
 

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