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2012 Winner


Peter Sís

2012 Children’s Book Guild

Nonfiction Award Winners


Listen to Peter Sís on The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU 88.5

Peter Sís new winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award!

The Nonfiction Committee is proud to announce that Peter Sís has been selected as the winner of our annual nonfiction award. Peter Sís has won multiple awards as a brilliant illustrator and fiction writer; the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C., is honoring him for the body of his nonfiction work. “Each page of every book reveals multiple layers of information about the subject, all enhanced by Mr. Sís' unique artistic style,” says Guild Nonfiction Committee Chair Ellen Butts.


Peter Sís was born in Czechoslovakia and began his career as a filmmaker. Sent to Los Angeles to produce a film for the 1984 Winter Olympics, he was then ordered to come home by the Czech government when the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries boycotted the Olympics. Sís chose to stay in the United States and was granted asylum. He began a correspondence with Maurice Sendak and ultimately began a new career illustrating and writing children’s books.

Sís has won the The New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year six times. In 2003 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. His most recent book, The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / September 2007), won the 2008 Robert F. Sibert Medal and was also named a Caldecott Honor Book. Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, says of the work, “Peter Sís’s book is most of all about the will to live one’s life in freedom and should be required reading for all those who take their freedom for granted.”

More about Peter Sís on his website at

Interview about his newest book here.

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