Author Profiles

05/23/2017 - 11:34am

A Solid Beginning

Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps was born on October 13, 1902, in Alexandria, Louisiana, a child of middle class parents of mixed racial heritage—what is sometimes called Creole. His father, Paul Bismark Bontemps, was descended from French plantation owners living in Haiti and their slaves. After coming to the United States, the Bontemps family lived free in Louisiana for decades, and the many of the men worked as skilled brick and stone masons for generations.  In addition to working his trade, Arna’s father also played music with a popular band. Arna’s mother, Maria (pronounced Ma-rye-ah) Carolina Pembrooke was descended from an English planter and his Cherokee wife. Maria taught public school and enjoyed creating visual art.

01/22/2018 - 9:03am

Born February 13, 1932, Mr. Taback grew up in the East Bronx of New York City in the 1930s and 40s. His family was Jewish, and they had strong ties to Eastern Europe. Their neighborhood was made up of many such families who together created a community rich in the traditions of the Old Country. When he was a young boy, he spoke the Yiddish language. Although he remembered little of it as he grew older, the traditional songs, stories, and ways of life made a tremendous impact on the work of this Caldecott Award-winner. In old Poland, a village such as the one he grew up in would be called a shtetl.

05/23/2017 - 11:39am

Author Facts:

  • Born on December 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C. to L.G. and Eleanor Schneider
  • Received a B.A. in art from Smith College in 1963
  • Married Tomas Azarian, a musician, that same year
  • Mother of three sons—Ethan, Jesse, and Timothy
  • Now resides in Plainfield, Vermont

Mary was raised on a small farm in Virginia, yet her life's road would take her into the New England countryside where she would create folk art that celebrates the region's traditional farming culture. She has illustrated more than 50 books and written several of her own, often employing a 19th-century hand press to create her woodcut designs.

05/23/2017 - 2:45pm

Marcia Sewall's name can be found on the covers of many books in the library. She has a simple drawing style that conveys the rhythm and characters of the stories without overwhelming them. Whether the subject is something light-hearted, such as Daisy's Taxi, or bold retellings of Thanksgiving history, Marcia's drawings give the books a clarity that works beautifully with their storylines.

05/23/2017 - 1:39pm

Did you know?

 — She's known as Jo to her friends. No one's called her Joanne since she was a child, and only then if she was being naughty.

 — Rowling is pronounced "rolling."

 — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 — Hermoine IS based on a real person — J.K. Rowling!

 — The fantastic Ford Anglia featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is similar to one owned by Sean Harris, her best friend at Wyedean School.

08/21/2017 - 11:28am

Ashley Bryan is a man who uses his words and pictures to lift up readers' spirits. When he enters a room and starts to tell stories from Africa's past, he transports his audience to a faraway, long ago time to learn valuable lessons for today. His talents illuminate wisdom earned from a lifetime of hard work.

05/23/2017 - 11:41am

Moira has the perfect birthday planned. "I want to invite grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, aaaaand kindergarten." Mom says no, so Moira asks her dad.

Dad says no, but somehow everybody in every grade "...aaaaand kindergarten" shows up for the party. The house is full, and the kids are hungry, but luckily Moira knows what to do to save the day.

05/23/2017 - 11:54am

Margret Rey and her husband, H.A. Rey, had no children themselves, but thousands of kids across the world have made friends with their little monkey, Curious George.

Margret was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 16, 1906. She studied art at the famous Bauhaus School and elsewhere before moving to Brazil in 1935. Margret married a fellow German artist, Hans Augusto (H. A.) Rey, and together they started the first advertising agency in Rio de Janeiro. They came back to Paris during some of its cruelest days, just before the Nazi occupation. Somehow, funny and delightful Curious George was created during those difficult times.

05/23/2017 - 12:06pm

It was her third grade teacher who showed Peggy Rathmann that reading could be fun. She had spent the first two grades squinting at the blackboard, trying to make out the alphabet with her nearsighted eyes. But her third grade teacher used pictures to tell stories, and when Peggy grew up to be a famous illustrator, she made sure that her big, bold pictures were clearly outlined in black ink so the kids in the back of the class could see them clearly.

05/23/2017 - 1:04pm

Jacqueline Woodson was born on February 12, 1963, in Columbus, Ohio. She had her growing up days in both South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York. One reason that she writes is because she believes that "language can change the world."

When she was young, she rarely saw books that had pictures of people who looked like her or her family or her friends. Her books have helped to fill in that gap, making it easier for libraries to succeed in their mission of letting every child find herself or himself in a book.

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