We mourn for Binette Schroeder


The charming grande dame of German picture book illustration is no longer alive. Binette Schroeder died peacefully in her home near Munich on July 5 at the age of 82 after a long illness. She presented her latest picture book, "Herr Grau & Frieda Fröhlich" [Mr. Grey & Frieda Cheerful], to the public as recently as October last year, and worked until the end on a book project that will now remain unfinished.

Born in Hamburg on December 5, 1939, the illustrator inherited her love of art and theater from her mother and her art-loving grandfather. She gained her artistic training in Munich and Basel. The publisher Dimitri Sidjanski of the publishing house NordSüd discovered her talent in 1968 and became an important mentor. Until the end, NordSüd remained Binette Schroeder's house publisher, where most of her 20 picture books were published.

Binette Schroeder became famous with the picture book "Lupinchen" in 1969. In her early picture books, she staged poetic toy worlds that transformed into magical dream worlds throughout the course of her artistic development. She perfected the art of magical-poetic enchantment in "Laura" (1999), perhaps her most personal picture book.

In addition to her own stories and those of her husband Peter Nickl, Binette Schroeder illustrated texts by Michael Ende as well as fairy tales. Her "Frog King" (1989), which she told as a young woman's development and emancipation drama, was much discussed. In this book she worked for the first time with sequential narrative sections. Later, for example in "Ritter Rüstig & Ritter Rostig" (2009) [Sir Lofty and Sir Tubb], she also incorporated comic elements. She has received numerous awards for her illustrations, including the German Youth Literature Prize.

Those who knew Binette Schroeder were fascinated by her enchanting, young appearance, loved her sparkling wit, her enthusiasm and her captivating way of telling stories. She was a passionate collector of picture books and gave regular lectures. She was closely associated with the Foundation International Youth Library, where her work is permanently honored in the Binette Schroeder Cabinet and her estate is preserved. In 2011, she and her husband established a foundation for the promotion of international illustration art. The aesthetic education of children was a matter close to her heart. "To make a good illustration is to be in yourself, to find yourself," she once said, adding, "I paint for the little girl from the past who is still inside me." Now both, the little girl and the great artist have said goodbye forever.

On behalf of the family, the Binette Schroeder Foundation and the International Youth Library Foundation

Peter Nickl and Dr. Christiane Raabe

© Photo: International Youth Library / Photographer: Ute Karen Seggelke