mary brigid barrett

is a children’s book author and illustrator; a professional educator; and the founder, president, and executive director of The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (

Her most recent books are All Fall Down and Pat-A-Cake, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, published by Candlewick Press Publishing and Shoebox Sam, illustrated by Frank Morrison, published by HarperCollins/Zondervan.

Barrett’s first book, Sing to the Stars (Little Brown), was an American Booksellers’ Association “Pick of the List.” Sing to the Stars was a National Council of Social Studies Teachers and Children’s Book Council “Notable Children Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.” It is also a recommended read in a number of multicultural book guides. Day Care Days (Little, Brown) won an Oppenheim Gold Award, given to outstanding new books that enhance children’s lives, as well as being named one of the best books of the year by Working Mother’s Magazine. The Man of the House at Huffington Row (Harcourt Brace), which Barrett wrote and illustrated, was named the “Best Book of the Year” for children eight to twelve by the National Storyteller’s Association, and paintings from Huffington Row were exhibited in a juried illustration show at The Norman Rockwell Museum.

Barrett's first series of  board books–Snow Baby, Mud Baby, Beach Baby, and Leaf Baby (Harcourt Brace)–were named Beginning With Books’ “Outstanding Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers,” a recognition she particularly cherishes as an avid admirer of Beginning With Books’ extraordinary literacy work in Pennsylvania. She also contributed a number of critical essays on children’s literature to Children’s Books and Their Creators (Houghton Mifflin) edited by Anita Silvey. 

Barrett taught children's book writing and illustration, and professional practices for illustrators, at The Rhode Island School of Design. She is a guest lecturer at area colleges and universities and often conducts writing and illustration workshops for children and adults.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Barrett grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She and her husband Richard Groth live in Franklin, Massachusetts—the home of our nation's first public library—with their faithful, friendly, and ever smelly basset hound Lily. They are the parents of three grown children, Elizabeth, Emily, and Patrick Groth—all artists.