John Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John’s first book for children (Cape, 1963) which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career.
John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. These feature his classic and much loved children’s books including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (Jonathan Cape, 1964); Mr Gumpy’s Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970) also awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal; Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Jonathan Cape, 1972); The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Penguin/Puffin, 1983); Granpa (Jonathan Cape, 1984) later made into an animated film and Oi! Get off our Train (Jonathan Cape, 1989) and various books for adults England (Jonathan Cape, 1992); France (Jonathan Cape, 1998); The Time of Your Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002) and When We Were Young (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004).
Tug of War was republished in 2012, and a special edition of Borka, celebrating 50 years in print, was published in June 2013. Picnic appeared in the autumn of 2013 and The Way to the Zoo was published in the UK in 2014. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang celebrated its 50th year in print with a limited hardback edition published in 2015. Motor Miles was published in 2016.
John is married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. They have three children, four grandchildren and a dog named Miles. They live in London.
- Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration, British Library Association, 1963, for Borka;
- American Institute of Graphic Arts book of the year, 1967-68, for The Extraordinary Tug-of-War;
- Kate Greenaway Medal, 1970,
- Honorary Award from Biennale of Illustrations Bratislava, 1971
- New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year, 1971
- School Library Journal Outstanding Book citations, 1971
- Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, for Mr Gumpy’s Outing, 1972
- Children’s Book Showcase selection, for Mr Gumpy’s Outing, 1972
- American Library Association (ALA) for Mr Gumpy’s Outing
- Notable Book citation for Mr Gumpy’s Outing, 1972;
- Children’s Book of the Year citations,
- Child Study Association of America, for Seasons and Mr Gumpy’s Outing 1971,
- Child Study Association of America, for Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car, 1976
- Children’s Book Showcase, Children’s Book Council, for Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car, 1977;
- Horn Book Honor list, for Come away from the Water, Shirley, 1977
- Horn Book Honor list, for Time to Get out of the Bath, Shirley, 1978
- Horn Book Honor list, for John Patrick Norman McHennessey, The Boy Who Was Always Late, 1988
- New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year citations, for Come away from the Water, Shirley, 1977
- New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year citations, for Granpa, 1985
- Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize), West German Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Would You Rather, 1980
- Kurt Maschler/Emil Award runner-up, National Book League (Great Britain), for The Wind in the Willows, 1983
- Kurt Maschler/Emil Award runner-up, National Book League (Great Britain), for Where’s Julius? 1986
- Kurt Maschler/Emil Award, for Granpa 1984
- New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, for Granpa, 1985
- Parents’ Choice Picture Book Award, for John Patrick Norman McHennessey, the Boy Who Was Always Late, 1988
- Parents’ Choice Picture Book Award, for Oi! Get off Our Train!; 1990,
- Books Can Develop Empathy award, for Hey! Get off Our Train, 1991
- Nestle Smarties Book Prize (Bronze Award), for Husherbye, 2000
- BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018