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Author Study
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Chris Van Allsburg

Biographical Information

  • Born: June 18, 1949; Grand Rapids,Michigan
  • Home Town: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Really wanted to be a lawyer
  • 1972 graduate of the University of Michigan
  • 1975 graduate of Rhode Island  School of Design with a Masters in Fine Arts
  • 1977 taught illusration at the Rhode Island School of Design
  • Started working as a scultpor 
  • "Chris Van Allsburg is considered one of the finest illustrators making books today." (by critics)
  • Married to Lisa and they have two children, Spohia and Anna.
  • Dedicated Bad Day at Riverbend to his daughter Sophia.

    Honors as an Author/Illustrator
    Caldecott Medal Books
    1981 Jumanji
    1985 The Polar Express
        **The first artist ever to win two.
    Caldecott Honor Medal
    1980 The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
    Regina Medal
    1993  Honored for lifetime contribution to Children's Literature

    "The technique I use is called representational or figurative.  But the style I'm trying to create is different." (

    Analysis of Chris Van Allsburg Books

    Resources used for Author Study

    Books by Chris Van Allsburg

    Chris Van Allsburg web links


    "I'm pleased when my drawings are a little mysterious to me.  I like to create a world where not everything is possible, but where strange things may happen."
    "A book is a four-and-a-half-month commitment, and the challange is to actually finish it."  (Quotes from Kovacs p. 62)