A well-known name in children's literature for many decades, Elizabeth Coatsworth was born in 1893. Her first novels were released in 1927, just as seperate departments for children's books were being established in American publishing. She received the Newbery Medal in 1931 for The Cat Who Went to Heaven, a book inspired by her many travels.
Despite the fact that she was born in Buffalo, New York, and began a lifetime of world traveling at age five, Elizabeth gave her heart to New England, particularly the state of Maine. It is here that many of her more than ninety books are centered. Her husband, writer and naturalist Henry Beston, whom she married in 1929, and her two daughters, Margaret and Catherine, shared her love for their farm in Maine.
The works of Elizabeth Coasworth demonstrate an intelligent simplicity and picture-evoking poetry of language. Her last book for children was published in 1975, eleven years before her death in 1986. The words of fellow Vassar classmate and the first children's book editor at Macmillan's, Louise Seaman Bechtel, provide a fitting epitaph for her life:
"She took on her journeys a brilliant mind, a flair for the strange and picturesque, a lively interest in all kinds of people. She gradually discovered, in the years that followed, many ways to interpret her emotional and intellectual response to far places, in prose and verse." It is this timeless quality that continues to appeal to the host of new readers, both young and old, of today.
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