Judith Kerr, the author behind classic children’s books such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, will be presented with this year’s BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award today (6th July).
Kerr was chosen as the winner of the 2016 award, which is for an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature, by a judging team that included children’s laureate Chris Riddell and human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti.
“Judith is amazing, she towers over the children’s book world and her humanity shines through her work,” said Riddell. “She is a national treasure.”
Born in Berlin in 1923, Kerr came to the UK after her family fled the Nazis. Her first picture book, The Tiger that Came to Tea, was published in 1968 and has never been out of print. She has also written and illustrated 17 books about Mog the cat, including Mog’s Christmas Calamity, which shot to the top of the charts last Christmas, and the ‘Out of the Hitler Time’ trilogy about her family’s escape to England.
Kerr was given an OBE for services to children’s literature and Holocaust Education in 2012.
BookTrust c.e.o Diana Gerard said: “Great authors and illustrators bring children to books and books to children. We know that books can be the life-changing milestone in children’s lives and we want to celebrate the work of authors whose books have that kind of impact.
“Judith is one of those people. Her fantastic stories and illustrations have enthralled children and their parents over several generations, and continue to do so to this day. Her remarkable life is only eclipsed by the remarkably enduring tales of her characters and creatures: Mog, the adventurous and engaging cat, and the tiger who came into so many of our lives when gatecrashing tea-time in Sophie’s household. We are truly thrilled to be here today to honour Judith’s life’s work with this award.”
BookTrust president and author Michael Morpurgo will present Kerr with the lifetime achievement award at a ceremony at London Zoo later today.
Last year, the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Shirley Hughes.