Steve Breen – writer, illustrator
By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her bestever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!
A classic underdog story full of humor and sweetness and retro pizzazz, Violet the Pilot is both endearing and adorable. It’ll fly right into your heart.
Born in 1970 in Los Angeles, Steve Breen grew up in neighboring Orange County as the second oldest of eight children.
He graduated from Huntington Beach High School in 1988 and attended the University of California at Riverside, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. It was at the university that he started drawing editorial cartoons for his school paper, The Highlander. In 1991, Steve won the Scripps Howard Charles M. Schulz Award as the top college cartoonist and the John Locher award for Outstanding College Editorial Cartoonist. He was influenced by cartoonists such as Jeff MacNelly, Paul Conrad, Pat Oliphant and Don Wright.
Breen was about to become a high school history teacher when the Asbury Park Press offered him a job in the art department in July 1994. He became the full-time editorial cartoonist there in 1996. In April 1998, Breen won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning.
In July 2001, he returned to his home state to join the staff of The San Diego Union-Tribune. His editorial cartoons are nationally syndicated by Copley News Service and regularly appear in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek and US News and World Report. His comic strip “Grand Avenue” appears in more than 150 newspapers across the country.
Breen; his wife, Cathy; and their two young sons live in the San Diego area. He enjoys reading, running, playing the guitar and watching old movies on cable.