Shadra Strickland studied, design, writing, and illustration at Syracuse University and later went on to complete her M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2009 for her work in her first picture book, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Strickland co-illustrated Our Children Can Soar, winner of a 2010 NAACP Image Award. She has published with Lee and Low Books, Simon and Schuster, Random House, Candlewick, Chronicle Books, and Little Brown. Her books have received recognition from the American Library Association, Junior Library Guild, and other prominent literary lists.