Prestigious Award Goes to Champaign Library Mural Artist Peter Sís

Peter Sis with mural at library


Donna Pittman, Development Director
Champaign Public Library

Peter Sís, who recently created three murals for the Champaign Public Library, has just received the most prestigious award in international children’s literature.

On Monday, March 19, 2012, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announced that Sís, a native of the Czech Republic, is the winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award. The award, sometimes called the Nobel Prize for children’s literature, is given biennially to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children’s literature. The author award went to Maria Teresa Andrutto of Argentina. The awards will be presented in London, England, in August.

Sís was selected from 30 illustrators nominated for the award. The award jury cited the artist’s extraordinary originality and ability to relate complex stories that can be interpreted on many different levels. Sís has written and/or illustrated more than 20 books for children, earning numerous accolades including 3 Caldecott Honors and 7 New York Review of Books Best Illustrated Book of the Year awards.

“This recognition gives us one more reason to be proud to have the work of an artist of this caliber here in our library,” said Library Director Marsha Grove. The murals were funded by private gifts and installed in the children’s area of Champaign’s main library, at 200 W. Green St., in December 2011. They combine the illustrator’s own book characters with familiar figures from children’s literature and nursery rhymes.

At left, Peter Sís is shown with one of three murals he created for the Champaign Public Library. Sís visited the newly installed murals in December 2011.