Born near Shonto, Arizona, to a Navajo medicine man and rug weaver, storyteller and artist Shonto Begay draws on his Navajo background to write and illustrate books for children and adults. He earned an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Begay is the author of The Mud Pony (1988), winner of the Owl Award for Illustration; Ma’ii and Cousin Horned Toad (1991); and Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa (1995) and illustrated The Magic of Spider Woman (1996), among others. He has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Canyon Road Arts, Western Art Collector, Warrior’s Voice, and Arizona Daily Sun, and his art has been exhibited in solo shows across the country, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum.
Of his writing and art, Begay says, “I work to bring my own art, my own traditions, my own people, to places where they don’t know about us. … I believe in sharing that story and in finding ways to let kids express themselves the same way.” Begay travels across the country to speak to audiences about culture, creativity, and sustainability. He has worked as a National Park Service ranger.