Elly MacKay is an award winning picture book maker living in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada with her family. She is the author and illustrator of several books such as Butterfly Park, Red Sky at Night and If You Hold a Seed. She attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as well as The University of Canterbury with a focus on printmaking and illustration. She also has a Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University. Elly taught both in schools and as an educator at galleries before pursuing a career in picture books. When not creating in the studio, Elly loves visiting schools and libraries to share her love of books, writing and art with young readers and makers.  

Recent Interviews:

2019 Washington Post

2018 Picturebookers

Select Clients:

  • Bloomsbury

  • Abrams

  • Penguin Random House ~ Tundra

  • Penguin Random House USA

  • Running Press

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • Sterling Publishing

  • OwlKids Books

  • Orca

Coming to work with paper

Elly grew up in a converted church in the countryside. Both of her parents, Steve and Joan Irvine are artists. As a child, Elly's mother,  wrote activity books such as How to Make Pop-Ups, which introduced Elly to the world of paper art. As a teen, she took a train trip to meet members of the Movable Book Society. They gave her  an informal education in papercraft and introduced her to Victorian optical toys, paper theatre and tunnel books. Elly began selling her paper sculptures at a gallery in Toronto following the trip and has been fascinated by working with paper and light ever since. 

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