Leo Lionni Books: Author Spotlight, Crafts and Activities

Leo Lionni books often includes sweet sentiments as well as a wry sense of humor that connects with kids.

Some authors create such a wonderful mass of work they deserve their own special post.

This week, Mommy Evolution is spotlighting Leo Lionni, who has a lighthearted magical quality to his work.

For more reading ideas, visit our extensive list of childrens books for kids!

You can find these books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.

Leo Lionni books often includes sweet sentiments as well as a wry sense of humor that connects with kids.

Two of our favorite books are not necessarily his most popular across the board.

My son’s all-time favorite story is Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, about a mouse who wishes he could be a wind-up toy but discovers it’s best to be just himself.

Our other personal favorite is Inch by Inch, about an inch worm who out sneaks a vain bird who threatens to eat him.

Leo Lionni Books

Leo Lionni Crafts and Activities

About Leo Lionni Books

Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children.

He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam’s museums, teaching himself to draw.

Lionni’s business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine.

It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director.

Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.

Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children’s picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.


  1. Leo Lionni is just the best! I used his books all the time when I taught Kindergarten and First grade. My favorite book has to be Fish is Fish. My son likes that one now!

    1. Alexander has been my sons’ absolute favorite. It just clicked with them. But I like Inch by Inch. Such a clever little inch worm 🙂

  2. Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse is my sons favorite by Leo Lionni!! He and I had a blast making crafts for that book! Such a fun time:) Thank you for sharing:)

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