Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Did You Know Tuesday: Lois Lenski

One of my favorite children's writers and illustrators was born October 14, 1893.   Lois Lenski was born in Springfield, Ohio.  She went to Ohio State University and received a B.S. in education with teaching certification.  During this process, she discovered her great love was illustration, and went to New York City to study at the Art Students League.

Lois Lenski's early work included fashion illustrations and greeting cards.  (I have a greeting card that I think may have been illustrated by her -- I will let you know when I research further and find out more!)   She had a successful career as an illustrator, and illustrated the childhood Betsy-Tacy books.  (Vera Neville illustrated the teen/adult books in this series.)   I absolutely love her illustrations in these books.  They capture small town childhood so perfectly.
Lois Lenski was also a successful children's writer.  Her first book was Skipping Village (1927).  She wrote and illustrated a charming series of picture books featuring Mr. Small.  She was a wonderfully prolific writer.  She wrote historical fiction for children, and her historical novels were some of my early reads in this genre.  Because of her books, I have a lifelong love of historical fiction.  My favorite of her historical novels is Indian Captive, about Mary Jemison.  It is still in print, and I have a copy in both print and Kindle format.
Lois Lenski also wrote a series of regional novels, including Strawberry Girl, Prairie School, Bayou Suzette, and more.   Many of these books are also still in print.

She had yet another series called the Roundabout books, about regional life in the United States.  This series included titles like: We Live in the South, We Live in the Country, We Live in the City, etc.

Lois Lenski was married to Arthur Covey, whom she met in art school, and their family lived in Connecticut for years.  Eventually they traveled in the south and moved to Florida, where they lived until her death in 1974.

Ms. Lenski's novels are such a slice of time and place, and I am so happy that they are still available for young readers.  Strawberry Girl won a 1946 Newbery Medal, and it is a good starting place for young readers interested in her work.  I also, of course, highly recommend the Betsy-Tacy series written by Maud Hart Lovelace and illustrated by Lois Lenski.  You will find a nice bibliography of her writing at the website of Illinois State University.

You may also enjoy visiting the Lois Lensky Covey Foundation, which works to promote literacy and foster a love of reading for at-risk children.

Have you read any of Lois Lenski's books?  What are your favorites?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Corpse with the Diamond Hand by Cathy Ace

The Corpse with the Diamond Hand(A Cait Morgan Mystery)
Series: A Cait Morgan Mystery (Book 6)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: TouchWood Editions (October 13, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1771511445

Professor Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson have finally said ‘I do’. To celebrate, they set sail on a romantic Hawaiian honeymoon cruise and, for nearly two weeks, the mystery solving newlyweds are worry-free. But then a man drops dead in the games room right in front of them and Cait and Bud can’t help but lend their expertise.

To the others in the games room, the sudden death of Tommy Trussler—the ship’s onboard card-game tutor—appears to have been from natural causes. But the professor suspects something much more sinister. With only two days left at sea—and thousands of possible suspects—the head of security is eager to solve the case and invites Cait and Bud to aid in the investigation. But the unique circumstances of an at-sea investigation mean their involvement cannot be official, and Cait must lean on her charm to conduct her own covert interviews.

Complete with laugh-out-loud moments and mouth-watering descriptions of the ship’s cuisine, the case of the The Corpse with the Diamond Hand will once again have you marvelling at Cait’s cleverness as she brings another murderer to justice.
About The Author:
Originally from Wales, now-Canadian Cathy Ace writes the Cait Morgan Mysteries. In The Corpse with the Silver Tongue her foodie criminologist sleuthed in the south of France. The Corpse with the Golden Nose found Cait sniffing out a killer in BC’s vineyards. The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb met her when she was meddling in murders in Mexico. This time Cait is caught up in a true closed-room mystery in a classy casino restaurant in Las Vegas. When not helping Cait solve traditional, closed-circle mysteries, Cathy’s a keen gardener, ably assisted by her green-pawed chocolate Labradors. 

Author Links:
Website:  www.cathyace.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Ace-Author/318388861616661
Twitter: @AceCathy
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3913679.Cathy_Ace

Purchase Links

3 lucky winners will win a print copy of this book.  (Open to U.S. and Canada)

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