Emily Arnold McCully, Author and illustrator Emily McCully was born in Galesburg, Illinois and raised on Long Island. Her father Wade was a writer of network radio shows and her mother Kathryn was a teacher. When she was a child, she began writing and illustrating her own stories, bound them and gave them a copyright date. She also illustrated postcards, greeting cards, scenery, portraits and copies of the old masters and would then set up a stand at the end of her driveway to sell them. McCully attended Pembroke University studying theater and art history. After graduation, McCully held a variety of odd jobs in the art field that included being a commercial artist, a designer of paperback covers and illustrating advertisements. When one of her illustrations was seen on an advertisement in the subway, she was asked to illustrate Greg Panetta's "Sea Beach Express." She accepted that offer and went on to illustrate over 100 children's books. In 1969, she illustrated de Jong's "Journey from the Peppermint Express," which was the first children's book to receive the National Book Award. McCully had her first solo venture with "Picnic," which is a wordless picture book about a family of mice, and it won the Christopher Award in 1985. "Mirette on the High Wire" introduced the dare devil tightrope walker, Mirette, and won the Caldecott Medal in 1993. Some of her other titles in include "Amazing Felix," "Crossing the New Bridge," "Grandmas at the Lake," "My Real Family," and "Pirate Queen.