Peter Sís was born in 1949 in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He studied filmmaking and painting at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London.
Sís’s career as a filmmaker began in 1982, when he was sent by the Czech government to Los Angeles to produce a film for the 1984 Winter Olympics. The film project was canceled when Czechoslovakia and the rest of the Soviet bloc decided to boycott the Olympics. Sís chose to stay in the United States and was granted asylum. One of his first jobs in the United States was animating a song for Bob Dylan for MTV.
Sís was introduced to children’s books after meeting author Maurice Sendak. He moved to New York City in 1984, where he works as an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker. He has created 26 award-winning animated shorts and films, stage designs and murals. He has written and illustrated over 60 books for adults and children. His art, including three-dimensional work, has been exhibited in Europe, Asia, and America.
Sís’ numerous awards and honors include a Golden Bear Award in 1980, a 1986 Newbery Medal, two Caldecott Medals, a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship, seven Best Illustrated Book of the Year awards from The New York Times Book Review, and a 2012 Hans Christian Anderson award.