Famous Author and Illustrator Birthdays in May

May 4th: Don Wood

Don Wood is well known for the best-selling classics “The Napping House,” “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.” Wood grew up on a farm in California where there was little time for drawing but decided in the sixth grade that he wanted to be an artist. Over the years, Wood has worked together with his wife, Audrey, on nearly twenty of her books along with co-writing and illustrating his own works. 

Visit Don and Audrey at https://audreywood.com/


May 5th: Richard Scarry

Scarry wrote over 300 books throughout his career that have been translated into thirty languages and sold more than 150 million copies. His son Huck carries on his legacy and has written and illustrated numerous books with his father’s characters. To celebrate his father’s 100th birthday, Huck Scarry traveled around the world and met with readers of all ages while he gave presentations on his father and read from his beloved works. 

Learn more about Scarry and check out all of his books on his website: https://www.richardscarry.com/


May 6th: Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than forty acclaimed children’s books starting in 1959, including “Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse,” “Inch by Inch,” and many more. His first book “Little Blue and Little Yellow” grew out of a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a train ride. He would go on to become a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner and receive the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal. 

Read more about Leo Lionni at: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/authors/leo-lionni/


May 10th: Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curist is well known for his books “Bud, Not Buddy,” “The Journey of Little Charlie,” “Elijah of Buxton,” and many more. Curtis has received the Coretta Scott King Author Award, the Newbery Medal winner, and the Scott O’Dell Award. In 2000, Curtis became the first African-American man to win the Newbery Medal for his book “Bud, Not Buddy.” 

Check out his website to learn more: https://nobodybutcurtis.com/


May 15th: Kadir Nelson

Nelson has created over 30 children’s books and is the recipient of three NAACP Image Awards, the Caldecott Medal, two Caldecott Honor Awards, and the Coretta Scott King Award. Beyond being found in children’s books, Nelson’s work can also be viewed in the collections of various notable institutions including the United States House of Representatives, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the United States Postal Museum. His illustrations can also frequently be seen on the cover of the New Yorker magazine.

Visit Nelson at https://www.kadirnelson.com/


May 17th: Gary Paulsen

Paulsen was well known for his books “Hatchett,” “The Winter Room,” and “Dogsong.” Many of his books share a common theme of endurance and survival. Over the course of his career, Paulsen wrote more than 200 books and received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for his lifetime contribution in writing for teens.


May 18th: Debbie Dadey

Dadey is well known for her “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” series and has written over 150 books! Along with being a writer, Dadey is also a librarian and former classroom teacher. Dadey loves to visit classrooms and encourage reading and writing among students. Did you know that the Bailey School Kids series was named after Dadey’s grandmother? 

You can explore her books and write her a message on her website: https://www.debbiedadey.com/


May 20th: Mary Pope Osborne

Osborne has written close to 100 books and is best known for the “Magic Tree House” series. Osborne is an ardent supporter of children’s literacy and countless readers have fallen in love with reading because of Jack and Annie’s adventures through time. Osborne travels around the U.S. and abroad to visit schools and speak on issues that concern children’s literacy. She has even spoken to the UN about the importance of worldwide literacy! Osborne created the Gift of Books program to get books directly into the hands of underserved children.  

Check out her website to learn more about her and explore her books: https://www.magictreehouse.com/


May 23rd: Margaret Wise Brown

During her writing career, Brown created over 100 books and is perhaps best known for “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny.” Her works have been translated into many languages, sold millions of copies, and are a staple in libraries and homes around the world. Her name appears among the most beloved—and best-selling—children’s authors of all time.


May 23rd: Susan Cooper

Cooper is best known for her series “The Dark is Rising.” Among her many recognitions, Cooper is the recipient of the Newbery Honor, the Newbery Medal, and the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award. 

Learn more about Cooper and her books on her website: https://thelostland.com/


May 23rd: Scott O’Dell

O’Dell is well known for his books “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” “My Name Is Not Angelica,” “The Black Pearl,” and “The King’s Fifth.” O’Dell has been the recipient of the prestigious international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the John Newbery Medal, several Newbery Honors, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. The Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction is given each year for historical fiction works written for children and young adults. 

Check out his website: http://scottodell.com/


May 26th: Lisbeth Zwerger

Zwerger specializes in illustrating fairy tales and has illustrated Hans Christian Andersen’s “Thumbeline,” and “The Swineherd” along with the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel.” Her works have also been exhibited worldwide at locations including the Salzburg Toy Museum, and the Klingspor Museum. Zwerger is the recipient of the international and prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal–the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

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