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About the Author

Peter Sis was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1949 and attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London. He began his career as a filmmaker and won the Golden Bear Award at the 1980 West Berlin Film Festival for an animated short. He has also won the Grand Prix show more Toronto and the Cine Golden Eagle Award, and in 1983 collaborated with Bob Dylan on You Got to Serve Somebody. His film work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1982 Sis was sent to Los Angeles to produce a film for the 1984 Winter Olympics. But the film project was canceled when Czechoslovakia and the entire Eastern bloc decided to boycott the Olympics. Ordered by his government to return home, Sis decided to stay in the United States and was granted asylum. Sis then met Maurice Sendak who introduced him to children's books, and he moved to New York City in 1984 to begin a career in children's literature. Sís earned quick acclaim with the publication of the 1986 Newbery Medal Winner, The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman, for which he did the illustrations. Sis is a five-time winner of The New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.. Komodo! and A Small Tall Tale from the Far Far North were each named a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, and he has won a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal for Komodo! and a Silver Medal for The Three Golden Keys. Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei was a 1997 Caldecott Honor Book, as was Tibet Through the Red Box. Sis has also received a MacArthur Fellowship Sis' editorial illustrations have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other magazines in the United States and abroad. He has published nearly 1,000 drawings in The New York Times Book Review. He has designed many book jackets and posters, including, in 1984, the famous poster for Milos Forman's Academy Award-winning motion picture Amadeus. He has also completed a mural for the Washington/Baltimore Airport, a poster for the New York City subway system, and a stage set for the Joffrey Ballet. His work has been exhibited in Prague, London, Zurich, Hamburg, Los Angeles, and New York in both group and one-man shows. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Matěj Baťha

Works by Peter Sís

The Train of States (2004) 495 copies
Tibet: Through the Red Box (1998) 469 copies
Madlenka (2000) 420 copies
Fire Truck (1998) 314 copies
The Conference of the Birds (2011) 313 copies
The Three Golden Keys (1994) — Author — 276 copies
Komodo! (1993) 164 copies
Ice Cream Summer (2015) 152 copies
Madlenka's Dog (2002) 146 copies

Associated Works

The Hobbit (1937) — Cover artist, some editions — 93,303 copies
A Wrinkle in Time (1962) — Cover artist, some editions — 38,907 copies
A Wind in the Door (1973) — Cover artist, some editions — 12,557 copies
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) — Cover artist, some editions — 11,919 copies
Many Waters (1986) — Illustrator, some editions — 7,934 copies
The Whipping Boy (1986) — Illustrator — 7,681 copies
The Book of Imaginary Beings (1957) — Illustrator, some editions — 2,681 copies
The Wind Singer (2000) — Illustrator — 1,809 copies
The Dreamer (2010) — Illustrator — 1,239 copies
Slaves of the Mastery (2001) — Illustrator, some editions — 1,055 copies
Firesong (2002) — Illustrator, some editions — 981 copies
The Dragons Are Singing Tonight (1993) — Illustrator — 955 copies
The Tale of the Unknown Island (1997) — Illustrator — 952 copies
Guys Write for Guys Read (2005) — Illustrator — 764 copies
The House of Paper (2004) — Illustrator — 676 copies
Scranimals (2002) — Illustrator — 471 copies
Stories to Solve (1985) — Illustrator — 451 copies
The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story (1995) — Illustrator, some editions — 429 copies
Imaginary Lands (1985) — Cover artist, some editions — 351 copies
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (2008) — Contributor — 340 copies
The Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House (1968) — Illustrator, some editions — 305 copies
The Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1965) — Illustrator, some editions — 269 copies
Monday's Troll (1996) — Illustrator — 235 copies
The Midnight Horse (1990) — Illustrator, some editions — 232 copies
A Collection of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (2004) — Illustrator, some editions — 232 copies
More Stories to Solve (1991) — Illustrator — 218 copies
The Gargoyle on the Roof (1999) — Illustrator — 137 copies
The Dream Stealer (2009) — Illustrator — 123 copies
Alphabet Soup (1988) — Illustrator — 106 copies
The Little Wing Giver (1997) — Illustrator — 84 copies
Still More Stories to Solve (1817) — Illustrator — 75 copies
The Magician's Apprentice (2012) — Illustrator — 57 copies
Rumpelstiltskin (1678) — Illustrator — 23 copies
Tales of the Amber Ring (1981) — Illustrator — 10 copies
A Gopher in the Garden and Other Animal Poems (1967) — Illustrator, some editions — 6 copies
Higgledy Piggledy (1986) — Illustrator — 4 copies
After Good-Night (1987) — Illustrator — 3 copies


20th century (570) adventure (2,185) chapter book (466) children (1,143) children's (2,584) children's fiction (535) children's literature (1,318) classic (1,942) classics (1,635) dragons (826) dwarves (567) elves (473) fantasy (20,468) favorites (578) fiction (13,295) hobbits (1,162) juvenile (534) literature (1,137) Lord of the Rings (1,237) magic (763) Middle Earth (1,829) Newbery (471) Newbery Medal (767) non-fiction (561) novel (1,448) own (860) paperback (543) picture book (816) poetry (505) read (2,297) science fiction (4,986) Science Fiction/Fantasy (452) series (1,301) sf (459) sff (693) time travel (1,604) to-read (3,177) Tolkien (2,715) YA (1,655) young adult (2,750)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Sís, Peter
Czechoslovakia (birth)
Brno, Czech Republic
Places of residence
Brno, Czech Republic (birth)
Prague, Czech Republic
London, England, UK
New York, New York, USA
Royal College of Art
Awards and honors
Golden Bear Award (1980 West Berlin Film Festival)
Grand Prix Toronto
Cine Golden Eagle Award
MacArthur Fellowship (2003)
May Hill Arbuthnot Lecturer (2011)
Hans Christian Andersen Award (2012)
Short biography
Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker. Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1949, he began his film career by winning the Golden Bear Award at the 1980 West Berlin Film Festival for an animated short. His film work is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He turned to publishing in 1984 and quickly became one of the leading artists in the field. With more than twenty books to his credit and almost as many honors, Peter is a seven-time winner of The New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Most recently, in 2007, he published The Wall: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain, which was awarded the Robert F. Sibert Medal and was also named a Caldecott Honor Book. Peter Sís was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2003. He lives in the New York City area with his wife and children.



In explaining why he wrote this book, award winning author and illustrator Peter Sis said, "I was always looking up the celebrated adventures, explorers, inventors, and dreamers. But I had not paid enough attention to the reluctant and quiet heroes. Here was a man who would see something wrong and do something to correct it, but who never claimed to be a hero." How lucky we are that Sis learned of Nicholas Winston's story and the children he helped like Vera Gissing. This inspirational story provides a different look into WWII. It is also a timely topic, with refugees fleeing conflict today, and provokes discussion of this issue with young readers and adults.… (more)
AnnesLibrary | 9 other reviews | Jan 28, 2024 |
Peter Sis delves into childhood memories and his father's diary to create a book for young readers filled quite literally with wonder and magic. As a child, Sis' father disappeared to Tibet for many months, and returned with secrets that took years to gradually divulge to his son. Less a travelogue and more an exploration of our shared inner psychologies and myths, Tibet transports and transforms.
vverse23 | 18 other reviews | Jan 9, 2024 |
Another marvelous book for young readers by Peter Sis. Not so much a biography to be read as an exploration in words and art of a life to be explored and browsed. Highly recommended for middle and high school readers.
vverse23 | 24 other reviews | Jan 9, 2024 |
A good-looking book, but I thought the multiple narrative styles made the reading of it disjointed.
LibrarianDest | 142 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |



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