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Sonja Danowski  [ Germany ]

Sonja Danowski was born in Iserlohn, in 2008 she completed a design degree with distinction. For her final year project, a limited-edition collection of watercolor drawings, she received the Art Directors Club Germany Junior Award. While she was still studying she submitted works to various competitions, which were then published in journals such as »3×3 Magazine« for contemporary illustration, as well as at exhibitions like the »Ilustrarte Portugal« and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Thus a Spanish publisher took notice of the artist.

In 2012 simultaneously in seven different languages »El Princpio« (Eng. »The Beginning«) was published, in which the Galician author Paula Carballeira tells the story of a family that loses its home in the war and embraces the challenges of a disrupted life. The story was translated into German in 2014. The timeless drawings stress the relevance of this experience in today’s world. In autumn 2012 the self-penned picture book »Streams and Dreams and other Themes« followed with 14 humorous poems about people with loveable peculiarities. Because of the numerous and surprising details and their sepia tones the accompanying images evoke an earlier time. In 2013 Sonja Danowski illustrated the short story »The Gift of the Magi« – first published in 1905 by the American author, O. Henry – for various international editions, including a German translation titled »Das Geschenk der Weisen«. Her interest in conveying emotions and preserving human memories through pictures was also seen in the books »The Forever Flowers« (2014) – for which the text of the American edition was written by Michael J. Rosen but based on an idea by Danowski – and in the originally in China published picture book »Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village« (2014), the German and English editions were released in 2015. In this story, a collaboration with the Taiwanese author Fang Suzhen, a little Chinese boy visits with his mother the ill grandmother, who dies shortly thereafter. The English edition was honored by the American Library Association as one of the most outstanding children’s books translated from a foreign language as a Batchelder Honor Book 2016. For the illustrations for this book Sonja Danowski also won the Golden Island Award at the Korean Nami Island International Picture Book Illustration Concours for the second time. Inspired and thrilled by the collaboration with Asia she further illustrated the firstly in 1979 published novel »The Straw House« (2016), written by the Chinese author Cao Wenxuan, who was the winner of the Hans-Christian-Andersen Award 2016. Danowski’s latest self-penned work titled »Little Night Cat« will be published in Germany and the USA in autumn 2016.

Sonja Danowski lives and works in Berlin.


Punkte, Baum und Faltertraum, 2012

Das Geschenk der Weisen, 2013

Der Anfang, 2014

Oma trinkt im Himmel Tee, 2015

Kleine Nachtkatze, 2016