Barbara DaCOsta

Some of Barbara’s research materials.

Barbara DaCosta delights in writing about the quirky things in life. She was a nighttime ninja when she was young, and now writes about ninjas, whales, bears, bagels, and other interesting and sometimes mysterious things. She lives in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. You can also find her occasionally on Facebook and Twitter and in musings on her blog. She received an honorable mention for the Loft McKnight Children’s Literature Fellowship  2018.

DaCosta’s debut children’s picturebook, the bestselling and award-winning Nighttime Ninja, was illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Ed Young (Little Brown, 2012). Nighttime Ninja was praised by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly, among others. It received the Children’s Choice Award 2013, and was a American Library Association Notable Book, Publishers Weekly Best Illustrated, Read Kiddo Read finalist, among other honors. Booklist wrote about Nighttime Ninja, “With measured pacing, careful design, and a beautifully symbiotic partnership of word and image, this enormously appealing, timeless story promises to delight preschool audiences and families alike for years to come.” Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Debut picture-book author DaCosta pens the quietly suspenseful quest of a ninja on a late-night mission…to the kitchen! Succinct language full of vivid verbs describing the action sets the mood for Young’s lushly textured illustrations composed with cut paper, cloth, string and colored pencil.” Nighttime Ninja has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese.

DaCosta’s second book, Mighty Moby, also illustrated by Ed Young (Little, Brown 2017), received four starred reviews. A unique method was used for it: Young developed the storyline in pictures, and DaCosta wrote the words to fit, using selected words from Melville’s Moby Dick. School Library Journal, praised it as a “masterpiece of bookmaking.” Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Stunning illustrations and authentic words grace this unusually sophisticated picture book.” Mighty Moby was a Minnesota Book Award finalist.

Night Shadows, a heartfelt story of friendship, will be her third book, also with Ed Young (Seven Stories Press, Fall 2020).