Iraqi-born Samer Hatam always knew that he wanted to be an artist. When he was very young he was fascinated by the coloured illustrations in books and used to wonder how adults could possibly read a book that wasn't illustrated! As he got older he started to illustrate stories of his own. When he was 16 he enrolled in a fine arts institute and in the same year started working in a publishing house. Samer lives in Auckland with his wife Lamia Aziz, also a children’s book illustrator, and their two teenage children.