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Leo Dillon (1933-2012)

Leo Dillon has passed away. Over a career that spanned five decades, the formidable illustrator, along with his collaborator and wife Diane, won numerous awards, including two Caldecott Medals (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, 1976 and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, 1977), a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and several Coretta Scott King Honors.

Editor Phyllis J. Fogelman shares her thoughts about the Dillons in a 1976 piece in The Horn Book Magazine.

In this entertaining article from a 1977 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, Leo and Diane pay tribute to each other—and son Lee talks about them both.

Diane, Lee, and Leo Dillon

The Dillons in 1977. Photograph by Kenneth M. Bernstein.


Leo, Diane, and Lee Dillon

The Dillons at the Eric Carle Museum in 2008. Photo by Deborah Hallen.



  1. Oh no! Ellen Levine and now Leo Dillon. This is a week for mourning.

  2. Nothing quite compares to reading children’s books as a child. I am fortunate to reread them over and over again as a teacher and now as a mother. It was such a delight to meet the Dillons at a conference held at my almamater, University of San Francisco, and later at a spring SCBWI conference. Readers will mourn and will find comfort that Ellen’s and Leo’s work will be shared, cherished, and celebrated for many years to come.

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