Most of our beloved classic children's authors (think Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, E. B. White, John Steptoe, and so many more!) have books in the world thanks to efforts of one formidable woman—Ursula Nordstrom. This brilliant biography displays her awesomely unorthodox approach to children's literature and her wily sense of humor, all while celebrating the unique books she ushered into the world.
In this lively, lyrical picture book biography, meet the groundbreaking, outspoken, legendary editor of the best-loved books for children, and see how she inspired Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown, and others to create Where the Wild Things Are, Good Night Moon, and many more classics.
"Ursula Nordstrom was a grown-up who never forgot what it was to be a child." The girl who'd always loved to read would grow up to work in the Department of Books for Boys and Girls at Harper & Brothers Publishers. Soon she was editing books by Margaret Wise Brown and E. B. White, discovering new talent like John Steptoe and Maurice Sendak, and reinventing what a book for children should be. "Children want to be seen," she'd tell her writers. "Not good enough for you," she'd scribble in the margins of their manuscripts, asking them to revise. Her favorite books of all? "Good books for bad children," she'd say. And those books went on to win every award imaginable, including the Caldecott and Newbery Medals and the National Book Award.
About the Author
Beth Kephart is a National Book Award finalist and an award-winning author of over thirty books for adults, young adults, and children, including the picture books And I Paint It: Henriette Wyeth's World and the forthcoming A Room of Your Own: Virginia Woolf and Where We Go to Think, Dream, and Be. She is also a teacher at the University of Pennsylvania and a widely published essayist, with work appearing in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, and elsewhere.
Chloe Bristol is the illustrator of Nonsense: The Curious Story of Edward Gorey, which received two starred reviews. She is also a visual development artist for feature animation and has worked on various films, including Mary Poppins Returns.
★ "Dedicating her tale to the sort of children who “dare to love” books, Kephart celebrates the life and achievements of a renowned editor who shepherded game-changing classics....Her legacy is vividly illuminated." —Booklist, starred review
★ "A full life through a picture book keyhole, this is a well-done and rare glimpse of book publishing few children see, and a career path that turns serendipity, acute intelligence, and hard work into what only seems like fate." —School Library Journal, starred review
"A welcome, behind-the-scenes look at one of modern children’s literature’s most glorious forces." —Kirkus Reviews
"A lively look at a dynamic personality credited with transforming children’s literature." —Publishers Weekly
"An excellent encapsulation of a seminal figure in children's books."—The Horn Book