John Burningham dies

News - Children Tuesday, 08 January 2019

Death at 82 of double Greenaway winner


John Burningham, author and illustrator of children's classics including Mr Gumpy's Outing and Granpa, has died at the age of 82.

During a long career, Burningham won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963 and 1970, as well as the Kurt Maschler award and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize), among many other honours. He and Helen Oxenbury, his wife of 55 years, were the recipients last year of BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Nicolette Jones writes
We have lost the great John Burningham, artist and writer, b 27 April 1936, d 4 January 2019. At our last couple of events together (with Judith Kerr), John had an oxygen supply on the platform, and made the audiences laugh a lot.

His picturebooks are funny and wise, and advocate freedom, fairness, tolerance and care of the planet. The books will endure. Among the glories: Borka, Humbert, Mr Gumpy's Outing, Courtney, Avocado Baby, Oi! Get Off Our Train, Motor Miles, Mouse House... His last picturebook was the inspired More Would You Rather...? And I think everyone should read Edwardo the Horriblest Boy in the World, about how children (and any others) respond to the way we treat them.

I am very glad to have chaired the committee that awarded him a BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The last time I saw him, on 24 October, we sat in his garden and studio and talked about future book projects. I wish they could happen.

Photo: Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham (BookTrust)

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