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Helen Oxenbury (b. 1938)

Helen Oxenbury was raised in Ipswich, the daughter of an architect, and from an early age developed a passion for drawing.  After leaving school, she attended the Ipswich School of Art, and went on to study in London at the Central School of Art and Design (1957-1959), where she met her future husband, John Burningham. She embarked on a career in theatre, film and television, worked as assistant designer at the Colchester Repertory Theatre, and for three years was painter and designer for the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv. In 1962 she returned to Britain and did design work for ABC Television and Shepperton Film Studios. After marrying in 1964, she turned to illustrating children’s books, and in her extensive career she has become one of the world’s most celebrated book illustrators  The Library Association (now CILIP) recognised the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject and Oxenbury won the medal in 1969. From 1989 to 1994 she was the Highly Commended runner-up four times for the award, and won again for an edition of Alice in Wonderland (Walker, 1999). Oxenbury won two "Emils", the Kurt Maschler Award by the Maschler publishers and Booktrust that annually from1982 to 1999. Oxenbury also won three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes (1985 to 2007), all in the 0–5 years category. The Smarties Prize winners were elected by children from shortlists composed by a panel. Oxenbury-illustrated picture books were the overall winners for 1989, We're Going on a Bear Hunt retold by Michael Rosen, and for 1991, Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, another Greenaway runner up. So Much was the 1994 age group winner. Farmer Duck was also the 1991 Illustrated Children's Book of the Year (British Book Awards). Tickle, Tickle, written and illustrated by Oxenbury, won the 1999 Booktrust Early Years Award. In the United States, Big Momma Makes the World by Phillis Root won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.

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