October 11: Leo Lionni

Children’s book author Leo Lionni died in Chianti, Italy on this date in 1999. He was born in 1910 in the Netherlands; his father was a Sephardic Jewish diamond cutter, his mother a concert singer, his uncle an art collector who stored many paintings in Lionni’s childhood home. After living in four different countries (and […]

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June 10: Let the Wild Rumpus Start

Maurice Sendak, creator of Where the Wild Things Are (1964) and other classics of children’s literature, was born on this date in 1928. He was the child of poor Polish Jewish immigrants and lost nearly the entirety of his extended family in the Holocaust. Sendak’s drawings were filled with craft, detail, and cross-hatched grotesquerie; his […]

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April 8: H.A. and Margret Rey

Margret Elizabeth and Hans Augusto Rey, the creators of Curious George, became American citizens on this date in 1946. They were German Jews who met in Brazil and married in 1935. Living and creating children’s books in Paris, they fled that city by bicycle at the outbreak of World War II, carrying with them the […]

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