Satoshi Kitamura

Born in Tokyo in 1956, from a young age Satoshi Kitamura enjoyed reading comics and illustrated novels. He started his career working in advertising as an artist, and soon made his way to London where he lived for over 20 years.

Satoshi’s books are familiar to children and teachers throughout the world. They're crowded with unforgettable drawings of sheep, rabbits, dinosaurs and cats, just to mention a few of his memorable characters. His work includes over 20 of his own books, including the wonderfully imaginative Millie’s Marvellous Hat, and he has contributed as an illustrator to countless more. He translates all of his own work into Japanese and has also translated other authors’ books including the well-known Elmer the Elephant series by David McKee.

Recent titles include The Story of the Snail who Discovered the Importance of Being Slow by Luis Sepúlveda and two books by John Agard, A View from Beyond and The Rainmaker Danced, which are illustrated by Satoshi. Scallywag Press has recently published The Smile Shop, a picture book packed with wonderful detailed illustrations, full of humour and observation.

Have a look at Satoshi's fabulous contributions to our Letters from Lockdown and What Makes You Smile? projects. Millie's Marvellous Hat was our Book of the Week - look here for a video and lots of activities.

  • Mother Goose Award
  • New York Times Notable Book of the Year
  • Smarties Silver Award

Kitamura is one of the world’s most original and stylish children’s illustrators.

The Sunday Times

Did you know…

  • Satoshi drew constantly from an early age. He says,
    "Like all Japanese children I drew all over the pavement — and on the road when there weren't so many cars. At school I drew caricatures of the teachers."

  • He draws with ink, but instead of a springy, steel nib he uses a Japanese glass pen, with tiny grooves to accommodate the ink . This creates a distinctive line that blobs now and then as it glides, giving an unmistakable character to everything he draws.

  • Satoshi lives in Japan and studies Spanish in his spare time.

What's been happening with Satoshi Kitamura?