Hidden on the Mountain:
Stories of Children Sheltered from the Nazis in Le Chambon
by Deborah Durland DeSaix and Karen Gray Ruelle.


Deb was born at home in Miami, Florida. Her expectant mom waited until the last possible moment before going to the hospital to give birth, but she waited a little too long! Deb’s three sisters and brother, however, were all born in hospitals, much to her father’s relief. Deb grew up in Miami and then in North Carolina, a glasses-wearing, book-reading tomboy who loved to draw. She decided to be a professional artist when she was eight years old. Although she was always the shortest person in her class, she still beat her brother at basketball. She was eleven the first time she saw snow. It was only half an inch deep, but she tried her best to make a snowman. It was very, very small.

Karen was born in Maryland, and moved a lot when she was growing up. She spent half of her childhood in London, England, and had an interesting accent for awhile. She was always reading. She liked drawing -- her mother is an artist -- but she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. When her little brother was several months old, she tried to step on his head, but now they are really good friends. She wanted a dog, and tried making one out of snow, but it melted. Finally, her parents relented, and they got Angus. Ever since, she has never been without at least one pet. She was terrible at sports, but she could run faster than anyone in her grade, even the boys. She was also taller than everyone in her grade, including the boys.

Deb studied art at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, and got her MFA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Karen studied everything but art at the University of Michigan, where she also got a Master’s degree in Library Science.

They both settled in New York City. Deb met her partner George Inge IV, another artist, at an arts & crafts fair. Karen met her husband, Lee Ruelle, also an artist, at a printmaking workshop. Karen and Lee’s daughter, Nina, was born in 1991. She’s an artist, too.

Deb and Karen both began their separate careers as children’s book authors and illustrators. Along the way, they held various other jobs. Karen was an editor, a reviewer, and a librarian. Deb taught illustration at her alma mater, SVA. One day, Karen decided to take an art class at SVA. Deb was the teacher, and it was friendship at first sight! They’ve been best friends ever since.

After a few years of books and friendship, Deb and Karen decided it would be fun to do some books together. They started with a picture book about an old tree in a park in New York. They wanted their book to show how the city grew up around the tree over two centuries, as the tree grew. (The Tree will be out in Fall, 2008, from Holiday House.) For their next book, they tried something different. Hidden on the Mountain is the result of their collaboration.

Deb moved away from New York during this time. First she moved to Connecticut, where she taught illustration at the University of Hartford. Then she moved back to Asheville, North Carolina, where she and George set up a ceramics and sculpture studio. Living in two different states makes the collaborative process more difficult, but Deb and Karen have figured out how to do so very effectively. They enjoy working together so much, they plan to do many more books that way. In fact, they’ve already begun research for two of them. Stay tuned!

Karen & Deb Photo Credit: Nina Ruelle


Bark Park (Peachtree Publishers)
written and illustrated by Karen Gray Ruelle
"An exuberant offering that will be a hit with many young dog lovers." Booklist

Harry & Emily Adventure easy-reader series (Holiday House)
all written and illustrated by Karen Gray Ruelle:

Easy as Apple Pie -- "Cheery and pleasant." Kirkus Reviews
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Book Award
Selected for inclusion in ABC Choices for Children, Association of Booksellers for Children

The Thanksgiving Beast Feast -- "Delightful." School Library Journal
Selected for inclusion in Children’s Books Mean Business exhibition and catalog, American Booksellers Association/​Children’s Book Council Joint Committee

Just in Time for New Year’s! -- "A fun story that beginning readers will enjoy." School Library Journal
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Great Groundhogs!

The Monster in Harry’s Backyard -- "Ideal for beginners." Kirkus Reviews

Spookier Than a Ghost -- "An easy reader that will delight children." School Library Journal

April Fool! -- "Offers both challenge and appeal." Booklist

The Crunchy, Munchy Christmas Tree -- "Engaging." Booklist

Easter Egg Disaster -- "Funny." Booklist

Mother’s Day Mess -- "Entertaining." Booklist

Snow Valentines -- "An attractive addition to holiday shelves." School Library Journal

Dear Tooth Fairy -- "Entertaining, satisfying chapters about a familiar rite of passage." Booklist

The Book of Baths (Harcourt)
written by Karen Gray Ruelle
illustrated by Lizi Boyd

The Book of Bedtimes (Harcourt)
written by Karen Gray Ruelle
illustrated by Lizi Boyd

The Book of Breakfasts (Harcourt)
written by Karen Gray Ruelle
illustrated by Lizi Boyd

75 Fun Things to Make & Do by Yourself (Sterling)
written by Karen Gray Ruelle
illustrated by Sandy Haight


Know What I Saw? (Roaring Brook Press)
written by Aileen Fisher
illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"A book that will captivate children." School Library Journal

In the Back Seat (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
written and illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"A stunning book." American Bookseller
Pick of the List, American Booksellers Association

Hilary & the Lions (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
written by Frank DeSaix
illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"The illustrations capture all the magic and mystery of a sleeping city." Publishers Weekly
Parents’ Choice Honor for Illustration, Parents’ Magazine

Returning Nicholas (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
written and illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"Briskly paced and brimming with mystery." Kirkus Reviews

The Girl Who Danced with Dolphins (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
written by Frank DeSaix
illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"Illustrations rich in texture, detail, color, and the hauntingly ethereal quality of dreams." School Library Journal

Treasure in the Air (Henry Holt)
written by Lisa Westberg Peters
illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"Refreshing, harmonious, and realistic illustrations." Booklist

The Tree (Holiday House, Fall 2008)
written by Karen Gray Ruelle
illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix
"The author paces the narration perfectly . . . softly drawn watercolors and rubbed oils beautifully capture the march of time and complement the text seamlessly." Kirkus Reviews

ALA 2010 Notable Book! NCTE 2010 Orbis Pictus Recommended Book!
The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust (Holiday House, Fall 2009)
co-written and co-illustrated by Karen Gray Ruelle & Deborah Durland DeSaix
"A must read for today's multicultural curricula." Kirkus Reviews