Chris Van Allsburg (born June 18, 1949 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American author and illustrator of children's books. He twice won the Caldecott Medal, for Jumanji (1982) and The Polar Express (1985), both of which he wrote and illustrated, and both of which were later adapted into successful motion pictures. He received the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1980 for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.
Van Allsburg attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, which at that time included the art school. He majored in sculpture, learning bronze casting, wood carving, resin molding and other techniques. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1972 and continued his education at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), graduating with a master's degree in sculpture in 1975. After graduation, Van Allsburg set up a sculpture studio.
While Van Allsburg focused on sculpture, his wife thought that his drawings would make good illustrations for children’s books. After his wife showed his pictures to a children’s book editor, Van Allsburg wrote his first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, in 1979. Since then, he has written and illustrated fifteen books....