Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018

Hillcrest High graduate Matthew Cordell (Class of ’93)Hillcrest High graduate Matthew Cordell (Class of ’93) recently received the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children, Wolf in the Snow. The prestigious award is presented by the American Library Association. Mr. Cordell wrote and illustrated the book, which tells the story about a girl and a wolf pup lost in a snowstorm and how they find their way home.

Matthew Cordell attended Plain Elementary, Bryson Middle, Hillcrest High, and the Fine Arts Center. He credits his high school art teacher, Eva Esrum, with being the first person who inspired him to take art seriously.

“She helped me understand so many basic principles of art,” he said. “She introduced me to a lot of different ways to make art, and she helped me realize that art could be something I could one day turn into a career. She is endlessly devoted to her students and I'll always be grateful to her for what she did for me.”

Picture Book for Children, Wolf in the SnowMs. Esrum described Cordell as a genuine, humble, and kind person. “I had him in Art I, Art 2, and AP Studio Art.  He received numerous honors for his work, including a Gold Key in Scholastic Art Awards his freshman year. In 1991 he was named the school’s Art Student of the Year,’ she said.

Cordell also gives credit to the teachers at the Fine Arts Center and The Governor's School for the Arts for encouraging him to continue to pursue his passion and to delve into art history and art making.

Matthew Cordell as a high school studentCordell encourages young people to follow their passion for the arts. “If you’re interested in art, if you are serious about it, you can definitely make art your livelihood,” said Cordell. “There are many different paths you can take to make a career in art. Think about what you want, work hard, and study and learn about as many art-related things that you can, and it will happen for you.”

In addition to Caldecott Award, Wolf in the Snow received a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award last year. Special Delivery, a book written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Cordell, received the prestigious Chen Bochui International Children's Literature Award from the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair in 2015. To find out more about Matthew Cordell, visit his website at or

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