Kęstutis Kasparavičius (1954) attended a school for musically-gifted children, at which they are generally prepared for careers in music. But by the time he graduated, he decided that drawing and painting were more for him, so he went on to study design at Vilnius Academy of Art. He worked as a book illustrator for a long time, and won numerous international awards, including Illustrator of the Year at the Bologna Book Fair in 1993. For many years, all of his work was with foreign publishers, so when he first started writing his own books, they appeared in Chinese even before they appeared in Lithuanian. Nowadays he is a writer and illustrator whose name is synonymous with childhood. It also helps that he is a personality: he is warm, friendly, children-loving, and always eager to engage children in activities and games. He is by far the most popular guest in the Children’s Section of the Vilnius Book Fair, and is freguently voted their favourite writer.
Kiškis Morkus didysis. Vilnius: Nieko rimto, 2008. – 54 p.
Morkus the little rabbit decides that he does not like his family’s eating habits, and would prefer to eat like the bears. So he changes to a diet of honey and sweets. Naturally, he begins to put on weight. But one day he meets a girl-rabbit, who suggests that he eats healthier food and goes to a dance with her. Good food and exercise, and of course love, help Morkus to be healthier and happier. This simple story, with lessons about a healthy lifestyle, will-power, friendship and love, and with lots of jokes and witty illustrations, was an instant success with Lithuanian children, and was voted Children’s Book of the Year in 2009. It is already available in other languages, like Latvian and Spanish, and the story has also been turned into a musical.