Two important birthdays on the literary calendar this weekend! September 14 (or 15th, depending on sources...I've seen both dates) marks the birth of writer and illustrator Robert McCloskey.
Ohio-born McCloskey was born in 1914 and passed away in the summer of 2003. Although born in Ohio (the setting of his book Lentil) he is probably most associated with Boston, the setting of his wonderful Caldecott award winning Make Way for Ducklings. And most of all, he is probably associated with Maine, a state I've never visited but almost feel as though I have through several of his wonderful picture books. It's hard to choose, but I think my very favorite will always be Blueberries for Sal. McCloskey was a wonderful story-teller whose old-fashioned illustrations help new generations envision what pockets of America looked like in the 1940s and 50s.
And happy birthday to Tomie dePaola, born today in 1934 so turning 73 (just a couple of years younger than my parents)! Tomie has enriched the lives of so many families through his many wonderful books. We've loved a bunch of them, but have especially enjoyed his illustrated Bible stories, folks tales, and stories of saints. He has a colorful, almost primitive style that children respond to with enthusiasm. One of the very first Christmas books my little girl ever enjoyed was Tomie's Little Christmas Pageant, a lovely introduction to the story of the nativity for toddlers and preschoolers.
Thank you, Robert and Tomie, for enriching our lives.