TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Lois Lenski

Lois Lenski

Lois Lenski was born in Springfield, Ohio. She spent her childhood years in Ohio, graduated from Ohio State University in 1915, studied for four years at the Arts Students League in New York, and later studied abroad at the Westminster School of Art in London.

On her return to America, she wrote her first book, Skipping Village, in 1927. With this and the book that followed, A Little Girl of 1900, her career as an author-illustrator of children's books was firmly established. A number of short, humorous stories for younger children followed, and then the publication of Phebe Fairchild, Her Book started the author on a series of books depicting American child life of the past, with settings in Connecticut, Ohio, New Hampshire and New York.

The award to Lois Lenski of the 1946 Newbery Medal for Strawberry Girl represented not only appropriate recognition by the American Library Association of the outstanding children's book of the year, but focused national attention on Miss Lenski's important program of regional books for children. This program began with Bayou Suzette, a story of the Louisiana bayou country, for which Miss Lenski received the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Medal in 1944, was followed by Strawberry Girl, and in the fall of 1946 by Blue Ridge Billy, a story of life in the mountains of North Carolina. Judy's Journey is the latest in this series of books which are making a vital contribution to American literature for children.

For all her regional stories, Miss Lenski gathers her material first-hand in the localities which provide the setting for her stories, lives with the people, listens to their speech and stories - with her drawing pencil ever-active in making on-the-spot sketches, which later become the finished illustrations for her books.