Miri Leshem-Pelly is a published author-illustrator of children books. Her favorite topics are nature and animals. She has created 12 books so far as author/illustrator and illustrated 14 other books. Her books include several best sellers in Israel, one book published in the U.S.A (Lon-Lon's Big Night) and two books who won the Nachum Gutman illustration award (Pitzponteva series). Two of her books (Lon-Lon's Big Night and Luti & Tery the otter cubs) were chosen for the "Book Parade" list by the ministery of education. Her artworks have been shown on several solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions. Miri is invited for many school visits and is also guiding special tours and workshops for children, based on her nature books.
Miri is the regional advisor of the Israeli chapter of SCBWI.
When did you decide to become a writer?
As a child, I loved reading books. Writing stories and painting were also my hobbies. When I grew up I studied art (at Meimad art school in Tel Aviv) and started to work as a graphic designer and illustrator. But the first books I illustrated were books I didn't like. My dream was to get to illustrate a book about nature, which was always my favorite subject. Then I thought – Maybe I could write my own book and illustrate it? So I started working on my first book, about a tiny nature professor who climbs on flowers and investigate them. To my surprise, when I met with several publishers – they all wanted to publish my book. The book became a best seller and I became an author…
What inspires you in your writing and illustrating?
In my childhood I grew up in a nature loving family. We went on numerous trips and nature became a part of who I am. In my youth I discovered Gerald Durrell's books and read them all. I was deeply inspired by his writing and his actions towards saving endangered species of animals.
I think that my family and Gerals Durrell are my two major inspiration resources for creating nature books.
What genre are your books?
My books of the Tiny-nature Professor series (Pitzponteva) are non-fiction books about nature in Israel. My other books are fiction, with stories about animals and about other topics. Most of them are picture books for ages 4-8.
How much research do you do?
A lot! When I'm writing about nature and animals, it is important for me to learn about the subject before I begin to write. Even when I'm writing fiction, if the story is about a real animal, I want it to be based on true facts. The research can also be fun! My 'author hat' has got me permission to enter inside animal's cages, such as sand foxes, river otters and fallow deers… These are the kind of things which makes my day!
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm back to my Tiny-Nature Professor, working on the 7th book of the series. I had a few years break, creating other books, but now I felt I miss the little guy very much! This time the tiny professor is going on a journey into the grass, which is like a micro-jungel for him.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My dream is to have my books published around the world. I want to influence and inspire as many children as I can to get closer to nature and to care about the animals and plants with whom we share the planet.