Lois Ehlert

2017 The Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award: Lois Ehlert

Lois Ehlert brings a distinctive graphic style to the books she writes and illustrates. Using paper, textiles, and found objects, she creates vivid collages that break the boundaries of traditional formats and designs, bringing joy and wonder to her picture book audience. “As an artist, I love to experiment,” she says, “and I find that each book has its own personality.”

Her first author/illustrator offering, Growing Vegetable Soup, showed children the steps in cultivating a garden, and her follow-up, Planting a Rainbow, featured an unusual format—a vivid array of flowers in six pages of staggered width. (Both Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) Color Zoo (HarperCollins) combined bold colors with die-cut pages and was a Caldecott Honor Book. Leaf Man won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, and Snowballs was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year (all Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Lois Ehlert has also retold and illustrated folk tales from other lands and has created art for books by other authors. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault (Simon & Schuster) won the Boston Globe– Horn Book Award and was an IRA Children’s Choice and an ALA Notable Children’s Book. Her other titles have been similarly selected by ABA, ALA, IRA, and NCTE for their notable and best books lists. Her most recent work includes The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, which chronicles her creative process, and Heart to Heart, a funny valentine and visual pun-fest (both Beach Lane).