Janosch (real name Horst Eckert) (born March 11, 1931) is one of the best-known German artists and children’s book authors. He was born in Hindenburg (now Zabrze, Poland) in Upper Silesia to a family of mixed German and Polish heritage. He said in an interview that he is Silesian and that it is his nationality.
After World War II the family fled to West Germany. In the area of Oldenburg Janosch worked in a textile mill. In 1953 he went to Munich, where he studied for some terms at the Academy of Arts, but broke off his studies eventually. Afterwards he worked as a freelance artist. In 1960 his first book for children was published with George Lentz, who was a friend of his, who also persuaded him to take on the penname Janosch. Within the next 10 years numerous books for children followed with different publishing houses.
He also published books for adults, in which he deals with his childhood experiences of growing up with an abusive father and a God-fearing mother, constantly recurring topics being friendship, family relationships and the quest for the meaning of life.
Among others, he has received the following awards:
• 1975: the Literature Award of the City of Munich
• 1979: the German Youth Literature Award
• 1984: the Zilveren Griffel
• 1993: the Bundesverdienstkreuz
By 1980 he had published over 100 books for children in nearly 30 languages. By then he had left Germany and now lives on the island of Tenerife in the Atlantic Ocean.