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Leo Lionni was born in Amsterdam on May 5, 1910. His first recognized successes were in commercial art. He was an art director in advertising and for Time Life, Inc. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal. Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books including four Caldecott Honor winners: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. He played piano, flamenco guitar, the sitar and the accordion. Lionni died on Oct. 11, 1999, at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.