The World of Leo Lionni

Children's Illustrator


Leo Lionni believed the only way to achieve something was hard work, and he did just that. Lionni was born in Holland 1910 died 1999 in Italy. Lionni is the illustrator and author of over thirty unbelievably fantastic children books. He has an extremely unique way of creating illustrations with watercolor, collage, and sponge painting. He has pursued his passion of art through his books. Welcome to the Life of Leo Lionni.

Lionni's Life

Further into life


Now lets begin our exploration into the life of Lionni. Leo grew up and was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He displayed creativity early on, and created terrariums as a child. As his interest in drawing grew, he was mentored by his Uncle Piet, (architect and an artist). Lionni loved to explore new things, so the fact that he lived just a few blocks from two wonderful museums, that he visited a lot, was perfect for him. But when he got older he moved to Philadelphia at age 14.


Lionni Attended the University of Genoa,and received a Doctorate degree in Economics in 1935. Soon Lionni meets the love of his life and gets married to Nora Maffi. They have two sons. Leo decides whats best, and moves family to Milan. In Milan, Lionni got a 14-year relationship with Time/Life.


Lionni has a unique way of art. He uses collage, watercolor, and sponge paints. Leo is a man of hard work and has been a teacher, author, critic, editor, painter, sculptor, printmaker, designer, cartoonist and illustrator. Lionni's paintings were exhibited in shows throughout Italy. Later he published his first book ”Little Blue and Little Yellow,“ and became a picture book author. Afterwards he was elected to Art Directors Hall of Fame, in 1974. He also recieved four caldecott awards for his books.


Sadly Lionni Died on October 11, 1999. Today his books still entertain kids everywhere. Lionni left a mark on the world of children’s books. He inspires other illustrators everywhere. Even though Lionni is no longer alive he still lives on through his books.