Featured Author: Muriel L. Feelings

Muriel L. Feelings taught high school for two years in Kampala, Uganda and traveled throughout the African continent. "I have found a great satisfaction in my teaching years with Black children of various age levels—seeing their development and their pride in learning about their heritage. My most rewarding experience was the two years in Africa; both the life and work. I was met with much warmth by the students and people as a whole." When she returned to the U.S. in 1968 she married artist and illustrator Tom Feelings. In 1970 the couple produced their first book together, Zamani Goes to Market. Their collaboration on Moja Means One in 1972 and Jambo Means Hello in 1975 earned Caldecott Honors for both books. Philadelphia literary consultant Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati said, "Only a few African Americans have won this prestigious award in children's publishing. To have achieved that in the early 1970s was an exceptional honor because the industry was not that knowledgeable about African American books." Her books also received honors from the Pennsylvania State Library Association and the American Library Association and have remained in print for over 40 years since their publication. Full descriptions of Muriel L. Feelings' books are publicly available for the month of February.
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Previously Featured Authors

January 2021
David Macaulay
As a researcher of science and history, his commitment to accuracy in text and picture is unlike any other in the world of design and illustration. Being technically precise, however, does not constrain Macaulay's sense of whimsy and wonder. From the original The Way Things Work on through to his artful depictions of human anatomy in its form and function as a marvel of design, Macaulay's curiosity cannot help but inspire the same in his readers. We hope Macaulay continues to write and draw for many more years, so that we can all continue to delight in his imaginative stories and captivating illustrations, and as he said, 'pick up information along the way'. Read More

December 2020
Hilda Van Stockum
At age sixteen, Hilda moved with her family to Ireland where she attended the School of Art in Dublin. After her studies there, she further pursued her art education at the Dutch Academy in Amsterdam. Her innate artistic, as well as spiritual, sensitivity is revealed in her observation, “It is light that creates beauty in nature. Without light we can't see, and all form is lost, whereas the most common and despised objects can be made beautiful by the light that plays on them. You don't have to paint heroic scenes or idealized goddesses... a common cracked cup can be beautiful." Her ability to find beauty in the ordinary, the everyday, came to characterize Hilda’s stories as well as her art. Read More

November 2020
Anne Molloy
In 1942, Anne’s first book, Coast Guard to Greenland, about a boy on an excursion with the ice patrol, was inspired by family friend “Iceberg Smith,” commander of the Greenland Ice Patrol. Anne continued to write, her adventure stories for children featuring characters and settings drawn from her wide travels and life experiences. A notebook for capturing her thoughts and inspirations was her constant companion. Often, though, she found herself returning to her favorite muse, the Northeastern seashore that she loved and its indigenous peoples. Her books on Native American subjects, Wampum and Captain Waymouth’s Indians, reflect a care and thoroughness of research rarely seen in books for young people on such topics. Her books continue to stand the test of time, conveying a richness of place and sense of adventure that invite new generations of readers to delight in her stories; joining Anne, through their imaginations, in her visits to the places she loved and the characters she created to fill them. Read More

October 2020
Roger Duvoisin
The beauty of Duvoisin's illustrations lies in what they include, but also what they omit. They suggest, they evoke, but they do not overly define. He provides the sketch of a lion strolling down a French street, or a hippopotamus hiding (rather badly) behind a bench and the child's imagination fills in the missing pieces: the commotion, the noise, the surprised exclamations of the crowd.

It is artists of Duvoisin's caliber that remind us of what the standard for illustrators of living books should be: their illustrations should not merely be pictures, but truly be art—imbued with the spiritual richness that enlivens the mind and awakens the imagination of the reader. Read More

September 2020
Holling Clancy Holling
Holling's passion for nature as a lifelong outdoorsman and his experiences at a wide variety of jobs—farmer, woodworker, sailor on an ore boat in the Great Lakes, illustrator for advertisements, books, and later at Walt Disney, taxidermist at the Field Institute of Chicago, student of anthropology, art instructor—all contribute to the authenticity and uniqueness of his books. They show the sort of intimate familiarity with their subjects that can only be gathered through a lifetime of careful observation and study, and years of hands-on hard work.

His and Lucille's illustrations—vivid, saturated, and compelling—accompanied by their adventurous tales, cannot help but captivate the reader, young and old alike. Read More

August 2020
James Herriot
"When I first started to write at the advanced age of fifty, I thought it would stop at one book and nobody would ever discover the identity of the obscure veterinary surgeon who had scribbled his experiences in snatched moments of spare time."

In an interview with Scotsman journalist, William Foster, Herriot described how he got started writing. “It was terribly hard work, and I loved it. I felt vaguely that I ought to write about it and every day for twenty-five years I told my wife of something funny that had happened and said I was keeping it for the book…She usually said, ‘Yes, dear’ to humour me but one day…she said: “Who are you kidding? Vets of fifty don’t write first books.’” Something about those words spurred him forward, and he said, “I stormed out and bought some paper and taught myself to type.”

The enduring and timeless stories James Herriot penned of animals and the people who own and love them provide countless hours of enjoyable reading or listening. Read More

July 2020
Virginia Lee Burton
Her passion for children's literature, especially when accompanied by high quality art and thoughtfully composed design, is evident throughout her works, even as they themselves reflect her own growth as an author and illustrator over the course of her career. Her sense of movement and action, her clever use of light and shadow, her understanding of repetition and pattern all work together to make each books’ illustrations a storyteller, as much as the text. Read More

June 2020
Robert M. McClung
McClung, in explaining the vision and purpose for his books, remarked "My aim in all of my books is to heighten the reader’s awareness and appreciation of nature and to develop his or her interest in and sympathy for all living things. The sooner the child develops an appreciation of the world he lives in and realizes that it could be destroyed, the better prepared he will be to make sane and wise choices when he becomes an adult."

McClung's books are prime examples of one of the singularities of living books, the phenomenon, as one author has put it, of "fictionalized non-fiction." McClung uses an engaging narrative to introduce his animals to the reader, giving the animal a name and filling in the edges of the story with imagined details, all the while maintaining scientific veracity. Read More

May 2020
Claire Huchet Bishop
Claire's books capture both her far-reaching imagination and her distinctly French ethos. They also often touch on her passionate commitment as a Catholic to the eradication of anti-Semitism. Her concern is to broaden the mind of her reader, helping them sympathize with others who are both very unlike, and yet very like, themselves, be it with a boy cowherd in the Alps, a young Greek donkey guide, or children at a French convent school and the Jews they are concealing. Her ability to craft delightful tales for children, from the very youngest right up through young adults, shows both her thoughtfully cultivated skill as a writer, but, just as importantly, her inherited genius as a storyteller. Read More

April 2020
Margot Benary-Isbert
Margot Benary-Isbert's stories closely parallel her own experiences and those of her extended family; the resilience of spirit that is required to start over from nothing, not once, not twice, but again and again, to choose to think outside of oneself when starvation and homelessness are constant companions, to risk everything for strangers. The emotions, the trials, the triumphs, all are drawn from her own memories, even when re-crafted and recast as fiction. The intimacy with her subject, which on the surface seems to be post-war Germany, but is actually the human heart, is what lends truth to her writing. Her books resonate because they are at once very specific, and entirely universal. Read More

March 2020
Walter Franklin Buehr
Buehr's books for children are a superb example of information told as story, one of the hallmarks of non-fiction living books. He presents specific facts as part of a larger web of knowledge, allowing children to develop the skill of making connections as they read. This enables them to better see how the individual pieces of information they are gathering, both within a particular book and across their reading, fit together to form a cohesive whole. His ability to capture the reader's interest, awakening their curiosity and sparking their imagination, separates excellent authors like Buehr from the dry, bullet point style non-fiction that is s commonly available. Buehr's engaging narrative manner is matched by the skill of his own illustrations, displaying a true artistic eye and hand. These talents are showcased throughout the several dozen children's books he produced before his death in 1971. Read More

February 2020
Jonathan Bean
Jonathan Bean has authored several delightful picture books, most of which are based on recollections of his childhood in Pennsylvania. Bean and his 3 siblings were homeschooled in the 1980s and he says, "Home and work, work and school, school and home were all seamlessly connected by my parents' curiosity to learn and teach." After homeschooling he received his undergraduate degree from Messiah College and then moved to New York City to attend graduate school at the School of Visual Arts. He now lives in Rhode Island with his wife and fellow artist, Emmeline Zhu. In addition to his authored works, Jonathan Bean has also illustrated many picture books and chapter books for other authors. He employs a wide variety of styles in his illustrations which allows him to adapt to the specific book and showcases the breadth of his talent. Read More

January 2020
J. R. R. Tolkien
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So goes one of the most famous book opening lines ever written. The Hobbit author, J.R.R. Tolkien, was born on January 3, 1892 so we've been planning to feature him in January all of last year!  He was a prolific writer although many of his works were unfinished and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien, who devoted much of his adult life to editing his father's works and bringing them into print. Read More

December 2019
Marguerite de Angeli
We are so pleased to feature author and illustrator Marguerite de Angeli for the month of December. Her stories and illustrations evoke feelings of warmth, love, and family and her characters are often learning how to choose the good and right in their daily lives. Through her stories Marguerite de Angeli introduces us to families from various historical time periods and regions. Many of her books are perfect read alouds for those children who are ready for longer picture books and beginning chapter books. Read More

November 2019
Ingri & Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
The D'Aulaires are one of our favorite literary couples. They always worked together on both the text and illustrations of every children's book that they created. Their illustrations showcase their craftsmanship and artistic expertise. Having emigrated to America from Europe, English was not their native language but they embraced their new home and language and over the years revised the text as their fluency increased. They clearly loved their work and were working on projects until their deaths. There's a lot more to read about their story on their author pages so definitely take the time to read them. Read more about Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

October 2019
N.D. Wilson
N.D. Wilson has written three of our favorite intertwined series (and some books for adults as well!). He holds a well articulated belief that children need books that scare them. He shared some of his philosophy in the article, Why I Write Scary Stories for Children. "Every one will have struggles and ultimately, every one will face death and loss... The stories on which their imaginations feed should empower a courage and bravery stronger than whatever they are facing." Read More

September 2019
Jonathan Rogers
Jonathan Rogers is one of our favorite living authors. He calls his fiction “fantasy adventure stories told in an American accent” and many say they hear echoes of both Mark Twain and J.R.R. Tolkien in the reading of his stories. His non-fiction writings also deserve praise and we personally know people who believe they never would have been able to read Flannery O’Connor for themselves had they not first met her in his biographical book The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O’Connor. Be sure to read the comical bio of Professor Rogers written by his nemesis, John Barber. Read More

August 2019
May McNeer
May McNeer (May Yonge McNeer Ward) was a 20th Century American journalist and author. After getting the early start of being first published at age eleven, May went on to write the 35 books we have listed in the database, many of which were illustrated by her gifted husband, Lynd Ward. In 1975 the deserving duo were recognized by the Catholic Library Association for "continued, distinguished contribution to children's literature without regard to the nature of the contribution" and awarded a prestigious literary award: the Regina Medal. Reshelving Alexandria may not give out literary awards (yet!), but we do recognize May McNeer as our Author of the Month for August! Read More

July 2019
Robert Lawson
If you are a fan of Arthur Rackham's illustrations then you probably already noticed what a great influence he was on the style of Robert Lawson. Robert Lawson was both a delightful author and a magical illustrator. His illustrations in The Story of Ferdinand have delighted generations and continue to create fans of his works today. As shared on the dust jacket of Pilgrim's Progress: "Children love Robert Lawson's drawings and this artist's most highly prized compliment on his work is the dictum of a small boy of 8, overheard to a children's librarian at a large exhibit of original drawings: 'I like his best. He draws them up neat and you can see what they mean.'" Read More

June 2019
Robert McCloskey
Robert McCloskey (1914 - 2003) was an American author and illustrator of great renown. His works are some of the most beloved and timeless books to grace children's literature. Two of his books, Make Way for Ducklings and Time of Wonder, were awarded the Caldecott Medal. Additionally, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine and Journey Cake, Ho! (written by acclaimed children's author and his mother-in-law, Ruth Sawyer) were awarded Caldecott Honors. Don't mistakenly think he only wrote picture books for the littles! His Homer Price is an absolute delight of a chapter book and a huge hit among both boys and girls! If you haven't yet welcomed him into your home, now is an excellent time to do so! His illustrations are warm and welcoming, his stories delightful. This is one author that every child should have an opportunity to experience. Read More

May 2019
John Hendrix
John Hendrix is an author/illustrator in a class all his own. He often incorporates a uniquely stunning typography in both the text and illustrations of his books. You will find yourself lingering on the page, hesitant to turn it for fear you may have missed one of the many details. The About page on his website is literally filled with a list of awards both his books and illustrations have won. We truly believe this is only the beginning of what John will bring to the table in the realm of glorious children's books and stories that will grip the hearts and imaginations of entire families. Read More

April 2019
Genevieve Foster
Genevieve Foster (1893-1979) is best known for her parallel tellings of history in her World Books series. Due to her personal experience reading history books as a child, which left her confused and frustrated, she was inspired to show what was happening all over the world simultaneously and became a trend setter in this style. Using her skills as an artist she contributed her own illustrations and maps to all her works making them both delightful and easily recognizable. Read More

March 2019
Minfong Ho
Minfong Ho was born in Burma and grew up in Thailand. In 1980, during the massive influx of refugees from Cambodia, she became a relief worker in the refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border. A writer in St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers explained that Ho "creates a world of great beauty and gentleness, with loving family relationships and ancient customs. But she also creates a world of poverty, drought, dreadful injustice, starvation, and death. Her protagonists are set between these two visions, but in that situation they discover their pride, integrity, and determination to love the land and overcome injustice." Read More

February 2019
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was from her earliest years immersed in a family culture that prized the written word. With a minimum of formal schooling, the majority of her education took place through her encounter with literature. While Austen herself never married, she remained a keen observer of the dance at play in the bringing about of these unions, ever aware of the social, economic, familial, and personal weights that hang in the balance, and making a good match and a good marriage is a at the forefront of each of her novels. Because of this, her books provide a timeless window into the complexities of choosing a life’s companion, and the ways in which a person’s character, formed over a lifetime of habits and choices, both large and seemingly insignificant, plays just as important a role in their fate as does their status in society. Her characters are as engaging, contradictory, delightful, repulsive, and endearing as any we will encounter in our daily lives. Read More

January 2019
Helena Sorensen
Helena Sorensen (Aman) believes in the transformative power of words and stories, and in the power of the voices that speak them. Before she became a mom, she studied music, taught English, and dabbled in poetry and songwriting. These days, when she's not playing "royal ball" or "royal feast" with her daughter or doing science experiments with her son, she's hiking with friends at Radnor Lake or talking books with her husband. Of course, she might be at her kitchen table writing fantasy novels. Read More

December 2018
S.D. Smith
S.D. Smith is a vanguard of beauty in modern children's fantasy. This West Virginian author writes new books with old souls. His stories of courage, valor, family, friendship, and honor reveal someone who truly loves children and battles alongside parents for the right development of their moral imaginations. It is a pleasure to support him and his writings. Together we "Bear the flame!" Read More

November 2018
Richard Halliburton
Most men live quiet lives and leave no record while others live a life of fantastical exploits one would expect to only read about in a fictitious story. Luckily for us, Richard Halliburton lived the latter and recorded some of his extraordinary adventures and experiences in a series of books. Read More

October 2018
Jennifer Trafton
Jennifer Trafton has the ability to write for the whole family and attack the big issues of loss, separation, and not feeling good enough with humor and grace. Her two books (so far!) make excellent read alouds and her art is a cheerful addition to any home. Read More

September 2018
Ralph Moody
Ralph Moody's life was marked by the hard work necessary to both survive and provide. As the primary breadwinner for his mother and siblings after his father's untimely passing, and then for the family he and his wife created together, he didn't have the opportunity to pursue a writing career until he was fifty. He quickly made up for lost time! Read More

August 2018
Elizabeth George Speare
"Garnering prizes and critical acclaim from the outset, Speare's work represents some of the finest historical fiction written for children and young adults. Her novels are particularly noted for the depth of their characters, authentic New England settings, intriguing plots, and accurate historical details." Read More

July 2018
Opal Wheeler
Opal Wheeler grew up with an affinity and love for music. As a child, she would play the piano by ear and wrote her own compositions. Later, she began to write biographies of composers for children. Read More

June 2018
Kate Seredy
Kate Seredy (Pronounced SHAIR a dee) wrote beautiful, heartwarming stories that leave the reader with a deep sense of hope. Her illustrations are simply stunning and add depth and vitality to her story-telling. Read More

May 2018
Douglas Kaine McKelvey
Douglas McKelvey is a modern day David—minus the affairs and murdering parts. He is a poet and songwriter whose words soak into your soul and make you cry—good, healing, it will be well with my soul type of crying. Read More

April 2018
Iris Noble
Writing and traveling fascinated Iris Noble. “In what other profession,” she says, “could I carry my office with me? Typewriter in hand, suitcase stuffed with reams of paper, I can be off to work and yet at the same time visit all the exciting places in the world.” Read More

March 2018
Andrew Peterson
“The common thread in all this,” he says, “is my love for Christ and his Kingdom, my belief in the power of story and art, and my need for family and community. If I had to boil it all down, I'd say this: I want to use my gifts to tell the truth, and to tell it as beautifully as I can.” Read More

Living Authors We Love

Authors We Recommend