Hester Bass is a dream believer, goal achiever, and story weaver. As a child, she made a list of things she wanted to do and places she wanted to go. (Her life has been all about checking things off that list.)
Hester Bass grew up in rural Georgia, close enough to Atlanta to experience the jewels of city life yet still raise tadpoles on the porch. She was shaped by her mother's love of language, her father's love of family, and books by favorite authors such as Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne. Her first story was about a green-eyed cat. Her first job was at a wild animal park. (Read books, write stories, have a job that's fun.)
She was educated in Boston, receiving a B.A. in Communications from Simmons College, then remained in Massachusetts to work as a writer and voiceover talent in radio and television advertising. She was also the lead singer of Flight 19. During this time, Hester traveled to Britain, making her pilgrimage to Liverpool to stand at the edge of the Mersey, just like John. (Be on the radio, know every Beatles song, sing in a rock band.)
She moved to New York to study acting, concentrating on Shakespeare, at the HB Studio in Manhattan. Her day job was delivering singing telegrams to the unknown and the famous, including Andy Warhol and Barbara Walters. Hester appeared with Dick Clark on TV's “$50,000 Pyramid,” winning a pen-and-pencil set and some towels. (Live in great cities, be an actress, be on a game show.)
While in New York, Hester met her husband, an artist and fellow Southerner. They have two creative children, a mellow cat who likes to wear baby clothes, and a playful dog who is a person in a fur suit. Although they never really said goodbye to New York City, they have lived in Atlanta, Ocean Springs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, near Huntsville at the foot of a mountain in Alabama, and are currently living in one of the most intriguing artistic cities in America: Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Go where life takes you, dress up the pets, have a happy family.)
Hester has taught kindergartners and first graders to knit on their fingers and hands, and to draw forms in the air and on paper. She has performed at libraries, schools, museums, and festivals, visiting over half of the United States and a dozen foreign countries. (Work with children, try new things, travel a lot.)
Some things are worth doing more than once, so Hester Bass appeared on another TV game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Meredith Vieira, which went six-figure well. She then tackled a long-held dream of becoming a children's author and, after a few years of hard work and perseverance, saw her first children's book become a reality: So Many Houses published by Scholastic. (Enjoy life, be persistent, be a writer.)
Her next book was The Secret World of Walter Anderson, a picture book biography of the remarkable Mississippi artist, Walter Inglis Anderson, published by Candlewick Press and illustrated by E. B. Lewis. It received a starred review in Kirkus and was named one of the best books of the year, winning the SIBA Book Award and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.
Her newest nonfiction picture book Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, was chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection, Bank Street Best Book, and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance SIBA Okra Pick, plus received a Silver Honor from the Parents' Choice Awards. It was nominated in three states for picture book awards as well as short-listed for the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. An NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, it also won the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Book Award Elementary Honor. The book is published by Candlewick Press and illustrated by E. B. Lewis so, basically, they got the "band" back together!
Hester Bass has appeared at ALA, IRA (now ILA), NCTE, SIBA, the AJC/Decatur Book Festival, Southern Festival of Books, Alabama Book Festival, Mississippi Book Festival, Fay Kaigler Children's Book Festival at USM, The National Book Festival in Washington, and elsewhere. She visits classrooms and libraries to encourage children to reach for their dreams. She volunteers with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Hester offers lively keynote speeches and workshops at conferences to inspire others to meet their goals. Success happens. Decide what you want and go for it. (Write more books, meet new people, spread the joy.)
Hester is forever adding to her list of things to do and places to go. Recent entries include: "Be in a Christopher Nolan film" - "Be a JEOPARDY! champion" - “Visit New Zealand" - "Be photographed by Annie Leibovitz" - and "Be interviewed on NPR by Scott Simon." (Dream big, work toward your goals everyday, never give up.)