Jerry Pinkney, the children’s book illustrator known for his art in books like The Lion and the Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare, has died at 81, publisher Little, Brown announced in a news release.

Pinkney, a Philadelphia native, made his children’s book debut in 1964 with his illustrations in The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales, written by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst. Dozens of books would follow, including Pretend You’re a Cat, John Henry, and Ain’t Nobody a Stranger to Me.

He was a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, for The Patchwork Quilt, Half a Moon and One Whole Star, Mirandy and Brother Wind, Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman, and Goin’ Someplace Special. He won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 2010 for The Lion and the Mouse.

His most recent book, The Welcome Chair, written by Rosemary Wells, was published in September.

Pinkney’s admirers paid tribute to him on social media.

Author Jason Reynolds tweeted, “Jerry Pinkney…a legend. Wow. This is a big one. Thanks for everything and I wish I would’ve made it to the studio. One can only dream of this kind of impact on the world. Rest well.”

And New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul wrote, “RIP Jerry Pinkney, a monumental figure in the children’s books world, an illustrator of great sensitivity and power, someone I felt honored to meet and whose work I felt lucky to read. His body of work will live on and inspire generations to come.”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Pinkney’s age. He was 81.