We had the opportunity to interview the talented artist and illustrator Monica Barengo. Her work has been exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and she has been twice selected as a finalist by the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition in Shanghai. The Writer is her first book published in English.

What made you decide to become an illustrator?

I’ve been drawing since I was a child. I was an introverted and shy child, and drawing led me to connect and talk with others. During my last year of high school, I had the good fortune to participate in a workshop with illustrator Maurizio Quarello. Before that, I had never really thought about going into illustration work, but hearing Maurizio talk and seeing his work made me fall in love with this craft and I decided that I would do this in my life, and here I am.

Illustration by Monica Barengo from The Writer | Click here to order this book

Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?

I graduated high hoping to become an artist, and I won a scholarship to cover the total school tuition for a private institute of design, the IED in Turin, where I earned a three-year degree in the illustration course.

Have you always loved to draw?

I can tell you that the drawing has taught me to live.

What makes you passionate about illustrating?

The possibility to spent time in my personal world and be able to call it a job. I love my work.

What’s a typical workday like?

After I wake up, I first walk my dog Greta—she’s the dog of the book The Writer. When I return, I have breakfast, and—with my hot coffee cup still in my hands—I sit in my studio and spend most of my day sitting there, like the protagonist of the book.

Which area of children’s publishing excites you the most?

Certainly the possibility of returning important themes to children through a fiction story. The emotional education that the illustrated books can hand down is so valuable for children’s development.

Illustration by Monica Barengo from The Writer | Click here to order this book

When you are not drawing, what hobbies do you have?

I love to read books, paint for myself, and walk with my sweety dog.

The Writer

Written by Davide Cali
Illustrated by Monica Barengo

A dog has an important job to do, especially if his human is a writer. Without a dog by his side, the writer would forget to eat. He’d never get out of his pajamas, and he’d probably stare at the computer all day long. But even the best French bulldog can’t do everything. Maybe this perfect pair needs someone new in their lives… 

Illustrated in warm, earthy tones, this witty story reflects the ways dogs change our lives for the better. Our canine friends can make—and find—the best companions.

I get up, and he’s already sitting there with his