This week we celebrate the birthdays of many children’s book authors.
Mildred D. Taylor, (Sept. 13th.) won the Newbery Medal for her book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in 1977. This book was a sequel to Song of the Trees and was also the inagural wining book of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature in 2003. Many of her books reflect the life and circumstances she grew up with as an African-American in the deep south during a period plagued with racism and Jim Crow laws. She attended the Universities of Toledo and Colorado. Other books we have by Mildred Taylor: The Friendship; The Well : David’s Story; The Land; The Road to Memphis; The Gold Cadillac; Let the Circle Be Unbroken.
Robert McCloskey, (Sept. 14th) won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 for his book Make Way for Ducklings, a story about two mallard ducks who start a family on an island in the Charles River and then move to raise the ducklings in the Boston Public Gardens. This book is also the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 1958 his picture book Time of Wonder also won a Caldecott Medal. He was educated at the Vesper George Art School in Boston and at the National Academy of Design. Other books we have by Robert McCloskey: Time of Wonder, Lentil; Henry Reed’s Big Show; Henry Reed’s Journey; Centerburg Tales; Blueberries for Sal; Burt Dow, Deep Water Man; Homer Price; One Morning in Maine.
William H. Armstrong, (Sept. 14th.) won the Newbery Medal for his book Sounder in 1970. This is the story of a poor, African-American sharecropper, his family and their dog Sounder. The sharecropper must steal food for the family but is arrested later by the sheriff. The family must learn to get by without the father, and the son must going looking for the missing dog. The boy must take up new responsibilities in the family but also longs for an education. William Armstrong was born to a farming family in Lexington Virginia. After attending Hampden-Sydney College and Univeristy of Virginia, he returned to farming and then became a history instructor at Kent School in Connecticut. Another book we have by William Armstrong: Sour Land
Thomas Handforth, (Sept. 16th) won the Caldecott Medal in 1949 for his book Mei Li. This is the story of a young girl who attends the Chinese New Year festival with her family. At the festival she meets a fortune teller who explains that she will become a princess. Her imagination expands after hearing her fortune but her family must return home to prepare for the arrival of the Kitchen God. Thomas Handforth drew ideas for this story from his own travels in Asia. He studied art at the University of Washington and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts.
Elizabeth Enright, (Sept. 17th.) won the Newbery Medal for her book Thimble Summer in 1939. Garnet Linden’s farming family is tolerating a long drought. She finds a silver thimble in a dry riverbed and not long after the rain falls and brings and end to the drought. Many “magical” things take place during the summer and Garnet wondered if the thimble was responsible for all of it. Elizabeth Enright studied at the Art Students League of New York and Parsons School of Design in Paris. She later taught creative writing at Bernard College in New York City. We also have a PlayAway Audio book by Elizabeth Enright: Gone Away Lake which was a Newbery Honor book.
Rachel Field, (Sept. 19th) won the Newbery Medal in 1949 for her book Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. This is the story, told through the memoirs of a doll that is carved from the wood of a Mountain Ash tree in 1829. The doll first belongs to a young girl but is later lost. It changes owners multiple times, is lost at sea, visits India, the South Pacific, many large cities and unexpected locations. The story covers a hundred years of Hitty’s experiences. Rachel Field grew up in Stockbridge Massachusetts and attended Radcliffe College. Other books we have by Rachel Field: Calico Brush; Rachel Field’s Hitty, Her First Hundred Years / A New Edition by Rosemary Wells; Prayer for a Child won the Caldecott Medal in 1945 for the illustrations by Elizabeth Orton Jones.