Peter Sis: Biography and Book Recommendations
"Because I have been in this country for only ten years, I see things much like a ten year old child," said Peter Sis, award winning children's illustrator, filmmaker and author in 1992. Sis grew up in Czechoslovakia and Prague, which he has described as "a little bit scary." "I grew up on a block of grey houses, with sad people, all with ashen faces, and red flags supplying the only colour," he says, explaining why he is so drawn to the use of bright colors in much of his work.
Sis studied filmmaking and painting in Prague and London. He was sent to the United States in 1982 by the Czech government in order to film the 1984 Olympics, and stayed. Here he began to focus more on his illustration work but he still views all of his artistic creations as somehow joined, saying "all my books are sort of films." One of his first jobs in America was animating a song for Bob Dylan for MTV.
He lives in New York City with his wife Ten-y Lajtha, a documentary-film editor, and their children. Sis credits the birth of his daughter Madeline for causing an important shift in his career. He switched from oil paints to watercolors out of fear that the oil paints would be harmful to his daughter. He now dries his watercolors by the oven as he makes dinner at 6 pm sharp every night. His children inspire many of his illustrations and storylines for his books.
Peter's book Starry Messenger -- Galileo Galilei was a 1997 Caldecott Honor Book, and has been published in English, French, German, Czech, Portuguese, and Greek, with Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, Danish, Korean, and Norwegian editions on the way. He has published nearly 1,000 drawings in The New York Times Book Review. For more information on his accomplishements, please see this article in the Iowa Review: http://www.iowaalive.com/features/fea083.htm
Other Sites of Interest about Peter Sis:
Mystery Man: Sis is interviewed by two teenagers from Zuzu magazine
Peter Sis's acceptance speech for the Boston GlobeHorn Book Award Special
Peter Sis discusses his Studio in Horn Book Magazine
Sis talks about getting letters from children in Iowa Live
Peter Sis has Illustrated eggs
Reprinted with the permission of the Parents' Choice Foundation. © Copyright 2012 Parents' Choice Foundation. All rights reserved.
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