An internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker, Czechoslovakian-born Peter Sís has decorated everything from the New York City subway tunnels to scores of favorite children's books -- like Madlenka and The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin -- with his unique visions and words.
Read the interview
Exclusive: Hear our audio interview with Sís (11:06)
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
May 11, 1949
Place of Birth:
Academy of Applied Arts, Prague; Royal College of Art, London
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year for Galileo Galilei, 1996; New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year for , 2000; MacArthur Genius Fellowship for The Tree of Life, 2003
|MacArthur Genius Fellowship Winner|
|The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin|
From our editors: "Sís re-creates with equal brilliance the style and substance of his Caldecott Honor-winning Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, this time showing audiences the theoretical accomplishments of the legendary naturalist Charles Darwin. From the scientist's birth in Shrewsbury, England, to his buriel in Westminster Abbey, Sís covers all the bases and delves even deeper, combining sophisticated illustrations of Darwin's life, journal entries, and letters with straightforward text."
|A Good Egg|
|In our exclusive interview with Sís, he shared a fun story with us about one of his big breaks: "I painted a real egg (decorated with a map) for the cover of Print magazine. That caught the eye of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who was then an editor at Doubleday. This led to the book The Three Golden Keys. Then I received a phone call from the American Egg Board. They asked me to paint an egg for the White House. So, there I was, on Easter Monday, with my family, presenting a painted goose egg -- or was it a duck’s? -- to President and Mrs. Clinton. One never knows!"|
|An Early Influence||Sís's Reading Recommendations|
|The Little Prince|
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In our interview, Sís recalls the impact reading the classic The Little Prince had on him as a boy: "It was completely different from anything I had known up to that point, Sís remembers. "I think I might even have cried when I read it. I guess it showed me that very special, very personal feelings could be written about -- and drawn."
We asked Sís to tell us about some more of his favorite books. He put Daniel Defoe's adventurous classic Robinson Crusoe on his list; read on to learn more about Sís's reading recommendations, including:
|Photo by Palma Fiacco Fotografin||