Christopher John Rocco (born July 9, 1967) is an American illustrator of book covers and children's books. He is best known for illustrating the covers of books in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He is the sole creator of some children's picture books.
Rocco is married to Aileen and they have a daughter Alaya. They currently live in Los Angeles. Aileen also writes and illustrates children's books. They lived in Brooklyn at least to 2010 and his personal website biography gave that residence as of March 2012.
Rocco did not take drawing seriously until he was 19 years old. Rocco has also been an international art director in the entertainment industry. Rocco was the pre-production art director at Dreamworks for the film Shrek. He designed attractions at Disney's Epcot and served as art director for DisneyQuest.
Two companion books to the Percy Jackson series were published in 2014 and 2015, with lavish interior illustrations by Rocco, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. Regarding the first Kirkus observed in a starred review, "Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning ...".
Rocco was a runner-up for the American Library Association Caldecott Medal, which annually recognizes the best in U.S. children's picture book illustration, when Blackout was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2012.
- Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book
- Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators
- New York Times Best Book of the Year
- 2015 Irma Black Award Honor for Blizzard;;
Children's books as writer
- Wolf! Wolf! (Hyperion Books for Children, 2007), picture book – "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" told from the wolf's point of view and set in Asia, LCCN 2007-4636, Rocco's first book as writer
- Moonpowder (Hyperion Books for Children, 2008)
- Fu Finds the Way (Disney Hyperion, 2009)
- Blackout (Disney Hyperion, 2011)
- Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom (Disney Hyperion, 2013)
- Blizzard (Disney Hyperion, October 2014), LCCN 2014-3220 – companion to Blackout; based on his Rhode Island childhood experience in the New England blizzard of 1978
- Swim That Rock, Rocco and Jay Primiano (Candlewick Press, 2014), 293 pp. unillus., LCCN 2013-952797
As illustrator only
- Interior illustrations
- Alice, picture book written by Whoopi Goldberg (Bantam Books, 1992)
- Boy, Were We Wrong about the Solar System, Kathleen V. Kudlinski (Dutton Children's Books, 2008)
- The Flint Heart: a fairy story, Katherine and John Paterson (Candlewick, 2011) – "freely abridged from Eden Philpotts's 1910 fantasy", LCCN 2010-48225
- The Hunter Chronicles by E. J. Patten (Simon & Schuster Books for Children)
- How to Train a Train, Jason Carter Eaton (Candlewick, 2013)
- Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion, 2014) – illustrated with more than 60 paintings
- Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion, 2015)
- Cover and dustjacket art
- Camp Half-Blood chronicles by Rick Riordan (2005 to present)
- The Kane Chronicles trilogy by Riordan (2010–2012)
- Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy by Riordan (2015–present)
- Ring of Fire (novel) by Pierdomenico Baccalario (2009-2012)
Another artist illustrated the first edition dustjacket for at least the first Camp Half-Blood novel by Rick Riordan, namely The Lightning Thief. Before the end of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians subseries (2005 to 2009), all volumes were in print with stylistically matching dustjackets illustrated by Rocco. New cover illustrations from a single Rocco painting that spans all five books were introduced early in 2014.
- The U.S. Library of Congress cites 2007 email correspondence with Rocco's publisher, for his full name and date of birth, and otherwise cites his website as of March 2012.
"Rocco, John". Library of Congress Authorities (lccn.loc.gov). Retrieved 2015-11-04. Point of entry to LC Online Catalog for works by Rocco.
- "About". ROCCOART: Words and Pictures (roccoart.com). Retrieved 2013-01-20.
- "Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco". Kirkus Reviews. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
"The Randolph Caldecott Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "Past Winners (Irma Black Award)". www.bankstreet.edu. Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
- "BLACKOUT, by John Rocco, illustrated by John Rocco" (starred review). Kirkus Reviews. April 15, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- John Rocco. "2014 – a novel, an illustrated book of myths and a picture book, oh my ...". ROCCO Art (roccoart.com). Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- "BLIZZARD, by John Rocco, illustrated by John Rocco" (starred review). Kirkus Reviews. September 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco". Kirkus Review. Posted online July 22, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Rick Riordan Books". ROCCOART. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "Percy Jackson gets new covers!". [February 2014]. ROCCO Art. Retrieved 2015-11-14. According to Rocco his first reaction was that "because of the popularity of the books they had become very iconic", evidently concerning his cover illustrations for all five novels.
- Official website
- John Rocco at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- John Rocco at Library of Congress Authorities, with 15 catalog records