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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, 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.
In 1976, he published his own rather different version of the fairy tale Tom Thumb, known as a fairy tale called, Der Däumling (English version as "Tom Thumb"), which is part of the children's book Update on Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors, which is compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg, illustrated by Willi Glasauer, and published by Beltz & Gelberg. 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
- "Mów mi Janosch, jestem Ślązakiem" (Polish)