Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet: Meindert DeJong! (and have a truffle :)

Salutations! I don't know about you, but I love having any excuse to discuss favorite books and authors (and eat truffles). So, today we're celebrating Meindert DeJong's 105th birthday! Go ahead! Pull up a comfy chair and have a truffle! Mr. DeJong is the author of many wonderful children's books, though there is one in particular that sticks out in my mind :)

He was born in 1906 in the village of Wierum, in the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands. He and his parents immigrated to  Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1914, and when he got older he attended the University of Chicago. Unfortunately, he was unable to graduate and was forced to work odd jobs throughout the Great Depression. In 1938, Mr. DeJong's first children's book was published, The Big Goose and the Little White Duck, followed by several more successes. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in China, and afterwards he resumed writing. His career as an author of children's literature was firmly established and he went on to earn many book awards.

My favorite children's novel of his is The House of Sixty Fathers. It was published in 1956 and my mom introduced me to it when I was about seven. I immediately fell in love. It tells the story of Tien Pao, a young Chinese boy separated from his family during a Japanese air raid. The book narrates the journey of him and his pet pig, Glory of the Republic, through much of China to find his lost parents and baby sister, meeting new people, experiencing loss, and learning independence.

It is a surprisingly thoughtful yet still age-appropriate introduction to this period in history and the experiences of the people who lived through it. I strongly recommend it, and I truly hope my son loves it as much as I did.

I look forward to celebrating other authors' birthdays here, and maybe some artists' as well? Possibly a composer here and there? :) Let me know what you think below. I'm trying to create some kind of method out of my madness, and I can certainly use your help. So...

What would YOU like to see posts about?

Thank you for stopping by and make sure to leave any suggestions you have below! Have a wonderful evening! --Mary

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