Helen Oxenbury was born in Ipswich and attended the Ipswich School of Art before moving to London to study at the Central School of Art and Design. Her career has spanned many fields, including design work in theatre, film and television. She started illustrating children’s books in 1964 and has published books across age groups, from classic board books for babies to collections of nursery rhymes for all ages.
Oxenbury is a two-time winner and four-time runner up for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She first won in 1969, when the two books cited were The Quangle Wangle's Hat, an edition of Edward Lear's 19th-century poem, and The Dragon of an Ordinary Family, a new story by Margaret Mahy. She won again in 1999 for her illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For the 50th anniversary of the Medal in 2007, Oxenbury’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was named by a panel as one of the top ten winning works of all time. Along with her husband John Burningham, Helen won the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.