John Burningham, one of Britain’s most distinguished illustrators, was born on April 27th in Farnham, Surrey, England. Not much of a student, he did forestry work, farming, slum clearance, school building in southern Italy and demolition work in Israel. He eventually attended Central School of Art and Design, where he met and married Helen Oxenbury, another popular illustrator. He was working as a part-time teacher when his first book was sold. Published in 1963, The Adventures of a Goose With No Feathers won the Kate Greenaway Award.
Working in crayon, charcoal, India ink, gouache and pastel, Burningham went on to create books that conveyed the importance of the richness of a child’s independent life. Mr. Grumpy’s Outing, published in 1963, also won a Kate Greenaway, securing Burningham a respected place in Great Britain’s world of children’s literature. He has also won many other awards, including SLJ’s Best Book Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for illustration.