Leo Lionni

To read this in Italian, click here.

LEO LIONNI writer, sculptor and painter, was born in Amsterdam in 1910 and the emigrated to the United States in 1939.  He became artistic director of a large publishing company, where he worked with many important artists, such as Calder, De Koonig, Fernand Léger.  Before moving to Radda in the Chianti region of Italy, he directed Fortune magazine and by chance, he began writing books for children.

His works changed contemporary graphics and the world of publishing.  Since many of the aspects of modern art are reflected in Leonni’s art and poetic writing style, even adults are drawn to his books and added to why he had such  great commercial success.  Lionni’s talent for understanding the way children think is why they are loved by children even today. Bruno Bettelheim said, “Only an artist who knows how to think essentially for images, succeeds to create a true illustrated book. Leo Lionni has understood the importance of the visual language.”

Little Blue and Little Yellow, created for Lionni’s grandchildren, was published in 1959 and the book that launched his career.

You can find more information about Lionni, interviews and activities for kids (with characters created by Lionni, like Frederick and Pezzettino : http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/lionni/

Many of Leo Lionni’s stories like Frederick; Swimmy; Fish is a fish can be found on YouTube.  If you check, you will find even more of his wonderful contemporary tales.