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2021 Bull-Bransom Award Winner – Shawn Harris

June 22, 2021


The National Museum of Wildlife Art is excited to announce the Bull-Bransom Award recipient for 2021 is Shawn Harris for his cut-paper illustrations in A Polar Bear in the Snow, written by Mac Barnett. In the book, readers follow a magnificent polar bear through a fantastic world of snow and shockingly blue sea. Over the ice, through the water, past Arctic animals and even a human. Readers can connect to the polar bear as a wild animal in its natural environment and ponder – where is the bear going and what does he want?

Harris says, “I created dioramas out of white paper that I lit and photographed. I wanted to see if I could use uncolored paper, lighting, light, and shadow to create an Arctic universe.” The book’s unique white-on-white cut paper collages are defined by the contrast of shadow and light, a perfect complement to the compelling minimal writing style distilled to essential words and phrases.

Shawn Harris got his start illustrating album art for bands he met while touring the world as a musician. His first picture book, Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, was the recipient of seven starred reviews. His other books for kids include What Can a Citizen Do by Eggers, Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy, and most recently, his authorial debut, Have You Ever Seen a Flower?

The Bull-Bransom Award is given annually to recognize excellence in the field of children’s book illustration with a focus on nature and wildlife. The award is named after Charles Livingston Bull and Paul Bransom, who were among the first and finest American artist-illustrators to specialize in wildlife subjects. Both had a tremendous impact on younger artists and both illustrated numerous children’s books. Museum Trustee Emerita and Bull-Bransom Award Founder, Lynn Friess started this annual award in 2010. The Museum will announce upcoming events and a visit by Harris to local elementary schools in spring 2022. Stay tuned for more information.

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