|Before Janell Cannon began writing and illustrating picture books about wildlife, she worked in a public library where her love of animals inspired her to create summer reading programs and activities related to many unusual creatures including bats, Komodo dragons, and snakes. One day, while researching information about bats, she discovered that there were very few books about them available for children--that's when she made the decision to write stories about these "weird" and "frightening" animals herself. But besides just writing stories, Janell felt that it was important that she portray these creatures in a way that children would begin to understand them, not fear them. Her first book, STELLALUNA, published in 1994, did just that: a small bat meets three birds, and they all become fast friends, the bat proving its loyalty and friendship during hard times. She thought it was a good story, but little did she know that it would become a bestseller that would sell more than 900,000 copies! After the success of the book, she quit her job at the library so she could spend more time writing and drawing stories for children. Throughout her career, Janell has been honored with several awards for her books including an IRA-CBC Children's Choice Award, NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and a Buckeye Children's Book Award.