David Wiesner

Portrait David Wiesner
David Wiesner [© Annie Hesfeld]

American illustrator and writer David Wiesner was born in Bridgewater, New Jersey in 1956. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration in 1978.

In 1980, Wiesner made his debut with »Honest Andrew«, an illustration of a text by Gloria Skurzynski. After illustrating more than a dozen books by other authors, he and his wife Kim Kahng wrote the book »Loathsome Dragon« [1987], which he also illustrated himself. Since then, Wiesner has released a number of picture books, starting with »Free Fall« [1989], for which he created both the text and the pictures, or which are told as stories without words. He was awarded the Caldecott Medal on three occasions: in 1992 for »Tuesday«, in 2002 for »The Three Pigs«, and in 2007 for »Flotsam«. The German translation of »The Three Pigs« [2001; »Die drei Schweine«, 2002] received a nomination for the German Youth Literature Award. It is a fantastic picture story about three pigs who can blow straw huts and wooden houses around, which seems to jumble the picture book pages themselves and sends the pigs on adventurous journeys through space and time.

The German translation of »Flotsam« [2006; dt. 2007], which was named Book of the Month by the Institut für Jugendliteratur in May 2007 and received the Luchs des Monats award in April 2007, tells the story of a boy and his magic camera in ninety pictures. The boy finds the camera by the sea, and the film inserted in it opens up a fantastic world of images to him, as in a flip book. »Art & Max« [2010] is about two lizards who share a love of art. Arthur is an acclaimed artist, clumsy Max wants to learn from him, and so small disasters occur. In this funny story, children are introduced to the world of art and learn how pictures are created from lines and colors.

David Wiesner received the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in the picture book category in 2015 for »Mr. Wuffles!« [2013; dt. »Herr Schnuffels«, 2014]. The protagonist is a bored tomcat whose apartment is one day stolen by a tiny spaceship complete with alien crew. Mr. Wuffles begins a hunt for the little green men, who, however, find allies behind the heating, with whom they make an escape plan to return to their home planet. Wiesner’s most recent book to appear in German translation, »I Got It!« [2018; dt. »Hab ihn!«, 2018], is an almost wordless account of the most exciting and nerve-wracking seconds of a baseball game, when a ball flies up off the bat to be caught by the outfielder.

Wiesner was shortlisted for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize in 2008. A retrospective art exhibition of David Wiesner’s work opened at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in January 2017 and has since been shown in Seoul and other cities. David Wiesner lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Date: 2022