TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Aliki

Aliki

Aliki Liacouras Brandenberg was born in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey on September 3, 1929. Growing up and attending school in Philadelphia and suburban Yeadon, Pennsylvania, she drew constantly and attended art classes on Saturdays. In 1951 she graduated from Philadelphia Museum College of Art. She worked in the display department at J. C. Penney Co. in New York for a year and then as a free-lance artist and art teacher in Philadelphia. In 1956 she spent several months traveling, painting, and sketching in Europe. In Greece, her parents' native land, she discovered her heritage. In 1957 she married Franz Brandenberg, also a writer, and they settled in Switzerland where she worked as a free-lance artist. Her first book, The Story of William Tell (1960), was inspired by a visit to the area in Switzerland where Tell had lived.

In 1960 the Brandenbergs moved to New York City. Aliki continued to write and illustrate children's books, both fiction and nonfiction. She says the fiction is "true and a part of her," and she takes her stories from her own children and neighbors. An example of this kind of book is At Mary Bloom's (1976), which was inspired by her daughter's visit to a neighbor. Her nonfiction books are a result of her fascination with a particular subject or person and require a great deal of research. The Story of Johnny Appleseed (1963), George and the Cherry Tree (1964), and The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin (1977) are among the biographies she has written. She also writes informative books about scientific or historical topics, such as orn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians (1976) and Digging Up Dinosaurs (1981). Three Gold Pieces: A Greek Folk Tale (1967) and Diogenes: The Story of the Greek Philosopher (1969) are books inspired by her Greek heritage. Aliki also has illustrated over fifty books for other writers including several for her husband. Her artistic style differs with the type of book she is illustrating; some books need a modern design of simple shapes and bright colors while others need an old-fashioned approach.

Aliki and her family moved to England in 1977 where she continues to write and illustrate. She received the New Jersey Institute of Technology Award for The Listening Walk in 1961 and for Bees and Beelines in 1964, the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award for Three Gold Pieces: A Greek Folk Tale in 1968, and the Children's Book Showcase for At Mary Bloom's in 1977. She also won the New York Academy of Sciences (younger) Award for Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians in 1977 and the Garden State Children's Book Award (younger nonfiction) for Mummies Made In Egypt in 1982.

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