Posted by Venus Bradley on Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Clare Turlay Newberry is a distinguished Caldecott Medal recipient. This doesn't include her numerous nominations and honorable mentions. She began drawing when she was just two, her favorite images being those of cats. She sold her first drawings when she was sixteen. She pursued art studies in Oregon and later in France. Her first picture book, Herbert the Lion, was published in 1931. She concentrated on portrait painting, but in 1934 she turned her full attention to children's books. Her first Caldecott book, Mittens, incorporated her love of cats and drawing, even using some of her neighborhood animals as models. Mittens was described by the New York Times as having "some of the very best cat pictures ever made." Newberry wrote all the stories that accomponied her illustrations, stories that were often inspired by her own daughter and son and their friends. By her death, Newberry left a legacy of beautiful picture books for children.