Sophie Blackall


An Australian icon in the world of Children’s Books, Sophie Blackall creates places to escape to during stormy times, and return from wiser, calmer and changed. Needless to say, her work is relevant to children and adults alike in modern times. Sophie, along with some of her characters, traversed from the world of fiction to the world of social impact when she became an ambassador for The Measles and Rubella Initiative to eradicate measles through vaccination – a partnership with UNICEF, The American Red Cross, WHO, CDC and the UN Foundation. And then with Save the Children, promoting children’s literacy in Rwanda and Bhutan. In 2014, Blackall was one of 40 artists to contribute to The Art of Saving a Life, a Gates Foundation project, celebrating 40 years of global immunization achievements.

Sophie Blackall is a Brooklyn-based multi-award winning Australian artist who has illustrated over forty books for children and was the first Australian to win the 2016 Caldecott Medal (the most prestigious award for an illustrated book in the United States), and again in 2019 for the book, Hello Lighthouse, which has also been shortlisted for a 2020 Australian Children’s Book Award. Sophie’s work has been widely celebrated in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, and MoMA, where her work is sold. Her Ivy and Bean series has also been on the New York Times bestseller list, and has sold over 5 million copies. Sophie has taught at the School of Visual Art in New York and at workshops in Brooklyn, NY; Valladolid, Spain; Kinshasa, DRC; Kigali, Rwanda and Thimpu, Bhutan, as well as giving presentations about her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, The Gates Foundation in Seattle, New York University and many other colleges and conferences around the country.

In 2022 Sophie was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to children’s literature.

The Advance Australian Global Icon Award has only been awarded twice before. Once to Greg Norman and then to Baz Luhrmann. Sophie Blackall is only the third recipient and the first woman to receive this award.


Finalist for the Advance Social Impact Award 2020
> Introducing the work of finalist Sophie Blackall | Watch

Winner of the Advance Australian Global Icon Award Winner 2020
> ABC Chair Ita Buttrose presents the Award to Sophie Blackall | Watch
> Celebrating the work of winner Sophie Blackall | Watch
> Acceptance speech by Sophie Blackall for the Advance Australian Global Icon Award 2020 | Watch
> Script of the acceptance speech by Sophie Blackall for the Advance Global Icon Award 2020 | Read


> Sophie Blackall in the Advance #GlobalReaders initiative for young global Australians | More