David McKee wins BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award

The creator of Elmer has won the prestigious BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates the body of work for an author and/or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

David McKee, who has a career that spans over 60 years, is known for creating beloved children’s classics including Elmer, Mr Benn and Not Now, Bernard – stories that are still beloved by young people today.

His first book was Two Can Toucan, published in 1964, and he has since gone on to write and illustrate over 50 picture books for Andersen Press.

On winning the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, David said:
“The shock is hard to get over and it still doesn’t quite seem possible as I’ve never been one for the spotlight and or winning awards but it’s truly fantastic, and even though I still don’t really believe it, I’m accepting it anyway, with great pleasure.”

He also spoke about the power of children’s books, saying:
“Children’s books can contribute to changing attitudes and are instrumental in helping them shape their view of the world. Picture books are a child’s first glimpse into the art world and in some way, especially with some of my books, the illustrations are actually more important than the story.”

He was chosen to receive the award by a panel of judges: chair Nicolette Jones, author and illustrator James Mayhew, storyteller Jan Blake, author Katherine Rundell and writer SF Said.

Nicolette Jones, journalist and judging chair said:
“I’m delighted to have chaired the panel which awarded this year’s BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award to David McKee. He has an amazing track record since 1964, with books such as King Rollo, Two Can Toucan and of course Elmer. David McKee understands the importance of always paying attention to children and what he gives them is first-rate. I hope readers continue to enjoy his marvellous work for years to come.”

Read David’s interview with BookTrust here.

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