April 10 – Happy Birthday, Clare Turlay Newberry

Posted on April 10, 2014

Copyright Felicia N. Trujillo
When I think of kids' books and the name “Newberry,” I think of the Newbery Medal, which is awarded to one excellent children's book per year. Sometimes I also think of the Newbery Honor Books, which are the runners-up to the winning book. (There are one to five Newbery Honor Books per year).

But Clare Turlay Newberry wasn't THAT Newbery! (The Newbery Medal is named for John Newbery, a publisher of children's books.) Instead, she was an American author and illustrator of books for kids.

Get this – four of her books became Caldecott Honor books, which is an honor especially created for picture books. But Newberry never got a Newbery!

Not EVERY one
of Newberry's books
were about cats!
Just a few days ago it was Draw a Bird Day. Well, today could be called Draw a Cat Day, because almost all of Newbery's books were about cats (including one about a lion!)

  • Read a book by Clare Turlay Newberry.
  • Enjoy a website devoted to Newberry's art: Cat Happy!
  • Try your own hand at drawing a cat. Newberry usually drew from live cats and kittens, rather than from photos. She even bought an ocelot so that she could draw it! (According to the New York Times, she spent $500 for the month-old ocelot. The Times headline? “Still A Lot For Ocelot”!)

    If you have a cat, you could try drawing from life. Or you could look at photos or even others' drawings as you draw. Here and here are some directions for drawing cats. 
Newberry's ocelot
Copyright Felicia N. Trujillo

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