"Before they read words, children are reading pictures."
David Wiesner is an American illustrator and writer of children’s books, known best for picture books including some that tell stories without words. As an illustrator he has won three Caldecott Medals recognizing the year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children” and he was one of five finalists in 2008 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition available for creators of children’s books.
Wiesner was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration.
Wiesner’s first book was Honest Andrew, a picture book with text by Gloria Skurzynski, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1980. That year he also illustrated a novel by Avi, Man From the Sky (Knopf, 1980). After illustrating a dozen or more books with other writers, he and his wife Kim Kahng co-wrote Loathsome Dragon, a picture book with his illustrations that G.P. Putnam’s published in 1987. Since then Wiesner has created many picture books solo—as writer and illustrator, or stories without words. Free Fall (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1988) was a Caldecott Honor Book, or runner-up for the annual Caldecott Medal, conferred by the American Library Association on the illustrator of the year’s best-illustrated picture book.
Free Fall was the first example of the predominant style of his solo books, which tell a fantastical, often dream-like story without words, only illustrations. Subsequently he won three Caldecott Medals for solo picture books —Tuesday (1991), The Three Pigs (2001), and Flotsam (2007)— and he was one of the runners-up for Sector 7 (1999). (Marcia Brown also won three Caldecotts, from 1955 to 1983.)