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Stephen Shaskan

One of the best things about living in the Twin Cities is the fabulous arts and cultural scene for kids. Museums, concerts, zoos, you name it and the Cities have it. A lesser known gem of living here is the overabundance of talented children’s authors and illustrators who call this area their home and make public appearances on a regular basis. One of my recent favs is author/illustrator Stephen Shaskan (rhymes with “Trashcan”!).

Articles Related to Stephen Shaskan

Books by Stephen Shaskan

Most Recent Series

January 2024 introduced Pizza and Taco: Wrestling Mania to the popular Pizza and Taco early reader series. There are currently seven books in the series, with an eighth book scheduled for Christmas 2024! Find them all in our Stephen Shaskan Shop on Bookshop.

First Picture Books

Stephen’s first picture book, A Dog Is a Dog (Chronicle Books), came out in the Fall 2011 and was featured in the New York Public Library’s “Best Picture Books of the Year” list. His second book, The Three Triceratops Tuff (Beach Lane Books), was released in April 2013 it is just as brilliant. Stephen’s books make me laugh and smile, and I highly recommend them for one on one reads or reading aloud to a group. I have A Dog is a Dog at home and my 6 yr old daughter loves the part about the squid . . . that’s right, I said squid. You’ll just have to read it . . .

Pages from A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan

Other Books by Stephen Shaskan

Find a list of our favorite books by Stephen Shaskan on Bookshop.org, including:

  1. Art Panels, Bam! Speech Bubbles, Pow!: Writing Your Own Graphic Novel by Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) Stephen Shaskan (Illustrator)
  2. Big Choo
  3. Max Speed
  4. Pizza and Taco: Who’s the Best?
  5. Pizza and Taco: Best Party Ever!
  6. Punk Skunks by Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) Stephen Shaskan (Illustrator)
  7. Q and Ray: Case 1: The Missing Mola Lisa by Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) Stephen Shaskan (Illustrator)
  8. Q and Ray: Case 2: Meteorite or Meteor-Wrong? by Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) Stephen Shaskan (Illustrator)
  9. Q and Ray: Case 3: Foul Play at Elm Tree Park by Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) Stephen Shaskan (Illustrator)
  10. The Three Triceratops Tuff
  11. Toad on the Road: A Cautionary Tale
  12. Toad on the Road: Mama and Me

Cover of Punk Skunks by Trisha Speed Shaskan and Stephen Shaskan

Stephen Shaskan’s Background in ECE

I first met Stephen when he was a special storytime guest star at my library during Children’s Book Week, and let me tell you, he was wonderful. His background is in Early Childhood Education, and you can tell by the way he interacts with children. He entertainingly read from his first book, then lead the children in a singalong. He also brought his “storytime guitar” to play for the kids . . . it’s totally covered with stickers, AND he lets kids touch and strum it. How cool is that? He was very charming, I would love to have him back someday.

Check out Stephen Shaskan, you won’t be disappointed!

Interview with Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan

In 2014, when this article was originally written, Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan co-taught a Comic Book Workshop. While that workshop is past, Gianna had a chance to interview Stephen Shaskan and introduce us to this wonderful couple of local children’s book authors.

Stephen Shaskan is one of Family Fun Twin Cities’ favorite authors.  He is super fun and very creative and has written some entertaining picture books. He is married to Trisha Speed Shaskan who is also a children’s author. She and I have spoken at length about books that would be good for my children to read. She is knowledgeable and a lot of fun herself.

But let’s give Stephen a chance to introduce himself and his wife

Meet Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan

What can you tell us about yourself?

Since graduating with a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1992, I have been working with children as an art teacher, educational assistant, and early childhood educator. The kids that I work with inspire my art and writing.

How many books have your written?

I have written and illustrated many ideas for books, but currently only two have been published. I wrote and illustrated A Dog is a Dog (Chronicle Books, 2011) and The Three Triceratops Tuff (Beach Lane Books, 2013). In 2009, I illustrated Art Panels, BAM! Speech Bubbles, POW! Writing Your Own Graphic Novel, which was written by Trisha Speed Shaskan (my wife). I’m currently working on illustrating a book that Mem Fox wrote titled A Cat Called Kite, and I recently sold a book to Scholastic that I wrote and illustrated titled Little Choo.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Syracuse and Albany, New York. But I have lived in Minneapolis for over 20 years. I moved soon after graduating from college.

Have you always wanted to write children’s books?

When I was young, I wanted to be an architect, but didn’t want to do all that complex math stuff. I just wanted to design cool buildings. I decided to focus on becoming a comic book artist, but was steered off track by my high school art teachers. In college, I was an illustration major, but I started to focus on fine arts: painting, sculpture, and screen-printing. When I finished art school, I just wanted to be a musician. I moved to Minneapolis and formed a band with friends, and began creating poster designs for my band and other events around town. I also self-published my own indie-comic called Saint, which if anyone finds it, it will be the equivalent of finding a high schooler’s diary: so embarrassing! I worked on single panel comics called Planet Schmuck, which featured kids doing silly things. I sold these at local art fairs. Meanwhile, I worked with children and read so many great picture books. Inspired, I started to focus on creating picture books of my own. Picture books and comics are similar because both forms tell stories with the combination of writing and illustrating.

What are some of your hobbies?

My biggest hobby is playing music. Besides playing guitar and singing/writing kid’s songs, I also play keyboards and bass, and love to mess around with all different types of music. I’m no longer in a band, but Trisha and I sometimes play together. She plays the drums.

Who is this lovely lady you are married to?

Trisha Speed Shaskan and I have been married for 13 years. We met at an elementary school: she taught writing/stories and I taught art. We both used picture books in our classes. Trisha had always wanted to write for children and has written over 40 books for Picture Window Books. Without her, I would not be in this business. We currently have a couple of projects that we are working on together.

Trisha Speed Shaskan Headshot
Trisha Speed Shaskan

What’s it like being married to a fellow author?

It’s great! We both benefit from each other’s knowledge of the business and craft of writing for children. We are constantly helping each other navigate this world. I am extremely grateful for having such a fantastic editor right here in my own house! She helps me not sound like an idiot. Trisha has even edited this interview for me. In fact she told me to edit this part out, but I chose not to.

Do you write comic books?

Trisha and I are working on a graphic novel together. I just received a Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant to work on it!

Creating comic characters is no different from creating characters for any type of writing. We focus on the comic side because it has both writing and illustrating.

Learn More About Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan on their Websites:


Images courtesy of Stephen and Trisha Speed Shaskan, used with permission

This article includes an affiliate link to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on books ordered through our link. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on this map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Learn more here.

Sections of this article were written by Librarian Ann and originally published on April 24, 2013, as part of our Children’s Library Corner series, guest authored by some of our favorite local librarians. Gianna says, “Ann is my favorite Twin Cities Children’s Librarian. She has introduced me to so many books and authors–most I have loved and only some I’ve thought, I don’t know if I like this.  Either way, I know that she is a true friend because after reading a book to her kids, she thought of me and my 4 kiddos.  She took the book putting it on reserve for us at the library so we could enjoy it. And we did! We couldn’t read it fast enough.”

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