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Sheridan Graduate Honoured with Provincial Award

November 17, 2015

Sheridan alumnus Jon Klassen was among six Ontario college graduates presented with a Premier’s Award yesterday at a gala event held at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.  The Premier’s Awards is an annual program that honours the outstanding social and economic contributions of Ontario college graduates.  

A 2005 graduate of Sheridan’s Classical Animation program, Klassen was recognized with a Premier’s Award in the Creative Arts and Design category. He has received the industry’s top honours and sold over a million copies of his books worldwide, all within five years of launching his career as a children’s book author and illustrator.

In 2013, Klassen was the first Canadian to win the prestigious American Library Association’s Caldecott Medal for This is Not My Hat (published by Candlewick Press).  He also received the Caldecott Honor for Extra Yarn, becoming only the second author-illustrator to receive both awards in the same year. As well, Klassen is the first Canadian to win Britain’s Kate Greenaway Medal for children’s illustration. The Caldecott Committee recognized Klassen once again in 2015 with an Honor for Sam & Dave Dig a Hole which he illustrated. Klassen’s illustrations can be found in The Nest, a recent book by the highly popular author, Kenneth Oppel.

Four of Klassen’s books have made the New York Times’ list of the best illustrated children’s books of the year, including I Want My Hat Back (prequel to This is Not My Hat) which he also wrote and illustrated.  

Klassen turned to illustration full time following the success of his first illustrated book, Cats’ Night Out, which won a Canadian Governor General’s Award in 2010. Previously, he worked for animation studios DreamWorks and LAIKA, contributing to feature films Kung-Fu Panda and Coraline.

Klassen, who also graduated from Sheridan’s Art Fundamentals program in 2002, found his animation studies to be a boon to his illustration career. “My Sheridan training gave me this amazing springboard to try out many things and be confident that when I deliver ideas to an audience, I’ll be understood. That’s a great gift.” Now based in Los Angeles, California, Klassen grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Klassen was among 116 graduates from Ontario’s 24 colleges nominated this year in the following categories: Business, Creative Arts and Design, Community Services, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate and Technology.  Sheridan alumni have won a total of 16 Premier’s Awards since the program was introduced in 1992.

Read more about Jon Klassen in Ovation magazine