Known for creating realistic yet whimsical characters and scenes, Nicole’s work has been honored by the Children’s Africana Book Award, the Américas Award, the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award, and the Growing Good Kids Award. Her books have been featured by the Bank Street Best College of Education, the Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices Annual List, New York Public Library’s Best 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Eastern Washington University Excellent Choice, Maine’s A Capital Read, and the Rutgers University Top 5.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, art has always been both an escape and a labor of love for Nicole. Frequent moves challenged her natural shyness, especially in new schools where she was the only black kid in class. “I always had pencils and paper nearby. It helped me make sense of the world around me or create imaginary worlds to live in for a while,” she says.
Today, Nicole continues to bring stories to life while advocating for diversity in children’s literature. In addition to her artwork, she finds beauty, strength and solace in the practice of tai chi, which has led her through trauma and recovery, and into spiritual awakening.
A resident of Massachusetts, Nicole speaks and leads workshops at elementary schools, libraries, bookstores, and art classes for people of all ages. She is also an advertising agency art director with more than two decades’ experience in graphic design.