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John Burningham (1936-2019)

John Burningham (1936-2019)

John Burningham was born in Rowledge, Surrey on 27 April 1936. He was educated at the progressive Summerhill School and then, as a result of refusing National Service, was drafted into two years of work in farming and forestry, hospital and social work. He studied art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1956-59), under Keith Vaughan, Laurence Scarfe and Bernard Neville. An award enabled him to retain his independence for a year, in which he designed some posters for London Transport and then worked in New York on educational publications.

Returning to England, Burningham developed his career as a children’s writer and illustrator, and was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal for Borka (1963), his very first book and again for Mr Gumpy’s Outing (1970), which also won the Boston Globe Book Award and was listed in the New York Times choice of the best illustrated children’s books of the year (1971). Subsequent successes have included The Wind in the Willows (1983) and Granpa (1984), the latter being turned into an award-winning film for UNICEF (Prix Jeunesse 1990), Oi!

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