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Picture Books Author of the Month
Demi
Demi
2 September 1942 -- ???

Biography
Catherine Dumaresq Hunt was born on September 2, 1942 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to William Morris and Rosamond (Pier) Hunt. Her father was an architect, actor, and entrepreneur, and her mother was an artist.

Art was a very important aspect of her childhood. She spent a great deal of time in her mother's art studio, and Rosamond made certain her young daughter experienced various types of artistic media. Her interaction with artists was not limited to her home. There are a number of important American artists in her extended family, and her father's connection with the theater brought a number of actors into the family's home.

Demi attended the Instituto Allende in Guanajuant, Mexico. She continued her formal studies of art at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1962. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962 from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, California.

After completing her undergraduate work, Demi received a Fulbright Scholarship that allowed her to complete a Master's Degree at the University of Baroda in 1963. She also furthered her graduate studies at the China Institute. From there she settled in New York, where she began her career as an illustrator.

All throughout her studies, Demi exhibited murals paintings, mosaics, and silk screen prints in museums and galleries in California, New York, Massachusetts, and India. Her art can be found in more than just museums, galleries, and books, though. Her works can also be found on the gold-leafed dome of St. Peter's and Paul's Church in Wilmington, California.

Demi married John Rawlins Hitz on December 18, 1965. He is an artist and writer. While the marriage did not last, the two had a son also named John.

Looking over Demi's works, which number more than 130, one can see a trend. Her illustrations and subject matter often exhibit a Chinese influence. There are two things that have sparked her interest in things Chinese. The first is a book written by Wang Kai in 1679 called The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting. The second was her second husband, Taesi Jesse Huang, who often shared the traditional stories of his youth with her.

The Chinese influence can be seen in more than just the final product. Demi paints on silk and often uses traditional ingredients in her paints, such as powdered jade, which she says is "for good fortune." [2]

Her philosophy of art is also Chinese. "Life is magic. Everything alive is magic. To capture life on paper is magic. To capture life on paper was the aim of Chinese painters. That is my aim, too." [2]

Demi's favorite thing to do is travel. She has traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Canada, England, and Japan. Her studies brought her to China and India, and she lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil for a period.

"Demi shares with young readers the power of story through her art. The freedom of expression that was encouraged in her childhood supports her creations that grasp the attention of young readers through lively design and color. The tales she creates and retells celebrate her ability to capture the magic of life on paper." [4]

Demi currently lives with her husband in Carnation, Washington. She is often an invited speaker at children's events, libraries, colleges and universities.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #11; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1977.
2) "Demi", Kaleidoscope 6: Imagination's Legacy; http://ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/k6/demi.html.
3) "Demi", Kidsread.com;
http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/au-demi.asp.
4) Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. St. James Guide to Children's Writers; St. James Press: Detroit, Mich., 1999.

Titles
E-DEM Chen Ping and His Magic Axe (1987) -- Chen Ping's honesty in his encounter with a stranger causes his axe to acquire magic powers, but his greedy master's attempt to reap the same reward comes to a different conclusion.

E-Demi The Dalai Lama: A Biography of the Tibetan Spiritual and Political Leader (1998) -- This biography provides information about the fourteenth Dalai Lama as well as information about the belief system of Buddhists.

E-Demi Demi's Reflective Fables (1988) -- A retelling of the author's thirteen favorite Chinese traditional folk tales for young people.

E-Demi The Emperor's New Clothes: A Tale Set in China (2000) -- Two rascals sell a vain emperor an invisible suit of clothes.

E-Demi The Empty Pot (1990) -- When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

E-Demi Find Demi's Dinosaur's: An Animal Game Book (1989) -- Demi asks the reader to find the small dinosaurs which decorate the larger creatures that occupy each page.

E-Demi Kites: Magic Wishes That Fly Up to the Sky (1999) -- With the signature style and extraordinary artistry that have won her a loyal following, Demi tells the story of how kites came to be.

E-DEM Liang and the Magic Paintbrush (1980) -- A boy who longs to paint is given a magic paintbrush that brings life to whatever he pictures.

Demi The Magic Boat (1990) -- When honest Chang is tricked out of his magic boat, he and his friends venture to win it back from wicked Ying and the Emperor.

E-Demi The Magic Goldfish: A Russian Folktale (1995) -- A poor fisherman's greedy wife is never satisfied with the wishes granted by an enchanted fish.

E-Demi The Magic Tapestry: A Chinese Folktale (1994) -- The youngest of three sons must overcome frightening obstacles to win back his mother's heavenly tapestry, which was stolen by the fairies of Sun Mountain.

Non-Fiction Titles
J-394.261-DEM Happy New Year!: Kung-hsi fa-ts'ai! (1997) -- Examines the customs, traditions, foods, and lore associated with celebrating Chinese New Year.

J-92-Genghis Chingis Kahn (1991) -- A biography of the Mongol leader and military strategist who, at the height of his power, was the master of the largest empire in the history of mankind.

Websites
"Demi", Kaleidoscope 6: Imagination's Legacy (http://ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/k6/demi.html) -- A brief biography of Demi can be found at this site as well as a list of works.

"Demi", Kidsread.com (http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/au-demi.asp) -- This site provides a very brief biography of Demi.

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