Our Authors & Illustrators


Idries Shah

Idries Shah spent much of his life collecting Sufi narratives and Teaching-Stories from oral and written sources in the Central Asia and the Middle East and making them available to the West. The eleven tales he wrote especially for children are published by Hoopoe as beautifully illustrated books. They have been commended by Western educators and psychologists, the Library of Congress, National Public Radio and other media for their unique ability to foster social-emotional development, thinking skills and perception in children and adults alike. Told for centuries, these stories express universal themes that acknowledge a child’s individuality and uniqueness, and encourage a sense of confidence, responsibility and purpose. For today’s young readers they provide a positive representation of important but often misunderstood cultures, showing how much we have in common and can learn from each other.

For the complete works for Idries Shah visit:

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Safia Shah

Safia Shah is the youngest daughter of Idries Shah and the founder and director of Kashfi’s Children (KC), a U.K. community interest company whose mission is to provide illustrated teaching stories to disadvantaged children throughout the world.

Safia has recently joined the Hoopoe team and brings with her new teaching stories written for children by her father. Recalling these stories from her childhood, Safia remembers how she and her siblings would be on their best behavior and wait patiently whenever guests visited: “We knew that if our father remained uninterrupted, he would illustrate whatever point he was making with one of our favorite stories. I am very excited to join with Hoopoe to share these extraordinary tales with children all over the world.”

Together, KC and Hoopoe plan to publish – in English as well as in several bilingual editions – six new teaching stories for children in 2022. Beautifully illustrated and designed by the KC team, these books will be available through Hoopoe. As funds allow, they will also be donated to disadvantaged children throughout the world.

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Robert Guarino

Robert Guarino was born and raised in Flushing, New York. He received a B.A. from Queens College, CUNY, and a teaching credential from Chapman University. He has taught high school in California since 1991. He currently teaches English and journalism at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, CA.

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Sally Mallam

Sally Mallam is the founder and Director of Hoopoe Books-ISHK publishing programs. Born in London, England, Sally spent many childhood holidays in Tanzania where her father worked, and later herself worked in Nigeria and London before moving to the US. An artist for many years, Sally created DENDE MARO as a token of appreciation for the good memories she holds of those African countries. She currently resides and works in California.

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Palwasha Bazger Salam

Palwasha Bazger Salam has degrees in Early Childhood Education from Kabul University and the University of Las Vegas where she currently lives and teaches. As Director of Teacher Education in Kabul for the Hoopoe Books for Afghanistan Program she helped develop Hoopoe’s Afghan curriculum, translated our books into Dari and Pashto and trained our Afghan teacher training staff. Palwasha comes from a family of storytellers and has continued this tradition in her retelling two new Hoopoe titles: The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah and The Stranger’s Farewell.

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David S. Sobel, MD, MPH

David S. Sobel, MD, MPH, Consulting Professor, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine and former Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion for The Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He practiced adult primary care medicine at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices in San Jose. He has worked with the Stanford Patient Education Research Center on the development and evaluation of the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. He is coauthor of eight other books including: Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain, The Healing Brain, Healthy Pleasures, The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. He is recipient of the national Healthtrac Foundation Health Education Award, the Kaiser Permanente James A Vohs Award for Quality and Exceptional Contribution Award, and Honorary Fellow of the Society for Public Health Education.

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Rita Wirkala, PhD

Rita Wirkala, author of Tales for THE DREAMER, is an Argentine writer residing in Seattle. Her work has been published in Europe and the United States, and acclaimed by a major Spanish language newspaper. She writes novels, poetry, literary essays and school and homeschool textbooks. She also teaches classes and  writing workshops in Spanish for Seattle Escribe, sponsored by THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION. After 20 years of teaching at the University of Washington, she is now partially retired and dedicated to writing, traveling and to her five grandchildren.

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Mona Caron

Mona Caron is a San Francisco-based artist, engaging in muralism & street art, illustration, and photography. Her focus is on community-informed and site-specific public art. Mona’s other book illustrations have included collaborations with author Rebecca Solnit. She has also created a number of posters for music and cultural events, music album art, and editorial illustration. Mona has created art for street actions and illustrations for media in accompaniment of advocacy groups for social and environmental justice movements, at home and abroad. She has worked with public space and bicycle advocacy groups, and organizations such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Zero-waste Detroit,, US Social forum, the Federation of Factory Workers and the Coordinadora por el Agua y la Vida of Cochabamba, Bolivia, among others. Mona has created murals in the US, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia, and freelanced as an illustrator for over a decade. – See more at:

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Natasha Delmar

Natasha Delmar was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Her father is a popular Chinese artist and she learnt how to draw & paint with water colors and ink at a very young age.

In the 80’s Natasha moved to San Francisco, California. She studied graphic design at San Francisco State University and graduated with a bachelor degree in Industrial Arts. But her passion for drawing and painting led her to pursue a career in illustration. Natasha studied children’s book illustration at the Academy of Art College and graduated with a master degree in Arts in 1997.

Natasha illustrated the Chinese Horoscope poster and the year 2000 Dragon poster for Kate Dare.

Natasha also illustrated The Old woman and the Eagle, Fatima the Spinner and the Tent and The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah for Hoopoe Books.

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Jeff Jackson

On a visit to the zoo many years ago, a young boy named Jeff Jackson fell in love with a brand new tiger cub who was romping around in the grass. It was then Jeff knew he really wanted a tiger and he would name it ‘Spot’. But keeping a tiger as a pet was not feasible for many reasons, including being allergic to cats. Jeff, instead, turned toward drawing where he learned he could keep any pet or creature he wanted in a sketchbook without the fuss of feeding them or sneezing when they were nearby. Jeff studied animation and illustration at San Jose State University, has worked at Hallmark Cards and as an animator for many years. He has been teaching animation and drawing since 2001. He lives in San Jose with his wife, two kids, two pets but no tigers. You can see more of his work on his blog.

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Mónica Acosta Gutiérrez

Mónica Acosta Gutiérrez is an Argentine illustrator and painter. She developed much of her art while living in Los Angeles, USA, as a mural painter for international cruises. She currently resides in Buenos Aires. Her delicate illustrations in Tales for the Dreamer rightly reflect the atmosphere of the many stories told by the narrators.

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Marie Lafrance

Marie Lafrance was born in Quebec City. She studied graphic arts at a CEGEP in Vieux-Montréal and etching at Studio Graff. Marie has lived in San Francisco and New York, where she worked as a silk-screen printmaker for various galleries. She returned to Montreal to work as a freelance illustrator and has illustrated textbooks, magazines, books, and posters. Marie serves on the board of the Association des Illustrateurs et Illustratrices du Québec (AIIQ), where she is also a past-president. She has been nominated for many awards, including the prestigious Governor General’s Award for her illustration of Richardo Keens-Douglas’s La Diablesse and the Baby, which also received an Alcuin Society Design Award citation.

Photo of Marie Lafrance by Beatrice Flynn

Midori Mori

Midori Mori was born and raised in Hyogo, Japan, and graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco with a BFA in illustration. After working for various companies as a graphic artist, web designer and art teacher for children, she became a freelance illustrator.

 Mori’s other clients have included McGraw Hill, Harcourt, Inc., and Peninsula Youth Theater. In addition to illustrating picture books, she has also provided illustrations for greeting cards, web-magazines, packaging and edutainment sites. She is now based in Japan.

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Robert Revels

Robert Revels  is a seasoned professional artist and University Instructor. Robert’s high attention to detail, ever-evolving skill set, and his commitment to deliver his very best have earned him a reputation that is highly respected. He is expert in 3D Modeling, Illustration, and both Traditional and Digital Painting. Robert has worked on a variety of projects ranging from children’s books to large concert backdrops for artists including Carlos Santana and U2. He is the recipient of numerous awards among them, a Judges Choice Award from the San Francisco and New York Society of Illustrator’s. Since 2000, Robert has served on faculty teaching at his alma mater, The Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, CA where he specializes in teaching Illustration.

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Rose Mary Santiago

Born in the Philippines, but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area where she currently lives and works, Rose Mary Santiago received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Illustration from the Academy of Art College in 1995. Drawn to the profound influence of the children’s book and its umbrella encompassing different styles and mediums, it wasn’t until her last semester that she realized what direction she wanted her art to take. In 1996, she met Sally Mallam, Executive Director of Hoopoe Books who proposed the Books for Afghanistan project, a collection of teaching stories retold by author Idries Shah. The first book she illustrated in the series was The Farmer’s Wife, followed by The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal and The Man With Bad Manners. It’s a great honor for her to have contributed to this project alongside such talented illustrators!

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Laetitia Bermejo

Laetitia Bermejo was born in Leeds, UK, to French-Spanish parents. She studied fine art at London’s Slade School of Fine Art in the 1980s, having always wanted to draw, paint and make things. Laetitia attributes this passion to having fallen in love with Hieronymous Bosch on a trip to the Prado Museum when she was 7 years old. She moved to Mallorca in 1990 and has lived there ever since, painting, drawing, making things and swimming. Laetitia loves to travel when she can afford to. She illustrated Oinkink for Hoopoe Books. 

Photo of Rose Mary Santiago

Silvara Kossem

At school, Silvara was always keen on drawing, decorating her notebooks with doodles while paying attention to her teachers. She noticed that doodling made it easier for her to focus. After attending and graduating from several schools, Silvara decided to follow her restless creative heart and made illustrating books her mission in life. She firmly believes that literacy and the right to education are of utmost importance to make the world a better place for everyone. Silvara illustrated The Spoiled Boy With the Terribly Dry Throat for Hoopoe Books.

Photo of Rose Mary Santiago

Tanja Stevanović

Tanja Stevanović is an illustrator and maker of things. She was born in Zagreb, Croatia; graduated from various art schools in Belgrade, Serbia; and is now in the process of making herself at home in Germany. Tanja’s artwork is influenced by nature, vintage illustrated books, weird toys, bizarre antique knickknacks and all sorts of oddities she manages to dig up during her regular visits to flea markets. She has taken part in numerous local and international art exhibitions and has illustrated a number of children’s books, including The Bird’s Relative for Hoopoe.

Photo of Rose Mary Santiago


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