Wanda Gág

2018 The Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award: Wanda Gág

Wanda Gág (1893–1946) was a fine artist, printmaker, graphic designer, and illustrator, and a pioneer in the development of the picture book form. Unlike most children’s book artists of her day, who placed text on one page and a single image on another, she integrated the text with the pictures, creating spot art and double-page spreads and using hand lettering with dramatic results. Her very first author/illustrator project, Millions of Cats, was published in 1928 and won the Newbery Medal. (The Caldecott Medal wasn’t awarded till 1938.) Widely recognized as the first modern picture book, it is still in print, as are several other prize-winning books that she wrote and illustrated. The ABC Bunny also received a Newbery Medal, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Nothing at All were both named Caldecott Honor books. Other iconic books she created include The Funny Thing, Snippy and Snappy, and Gone is Gone. (All published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.) In recognition of her long-lasting influence and achievements in children’s literature, she was posthumously honored with the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 and with the Kerlan Award in 1977.