Born on February 9, 1908, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Van Stockum and her family traveled often, following her father who worked as a naval officer and port commander. Early in her life Van Stockum wanted to be an artist. She began to realize her dream when the family moved to Ireland and she attended the School of Art in Dublin. After those years of artistic training, she continued learning at the Dutch Academy in Amsterdam.
Utilizing her art education, Van Stockum taught in Ireland and illustrated books for the publisher Browne and Nolan. She enjoyed her career, but then she met and married her husband and moved to New York. There Van Stockum continued teaching as a Montessori instructor, and she penned and illustrated the book A Day On Skates, which earned her the Newbery Honor Award in 1935. As her husband relocated from place to place for his job, Van Stockum moved also, taking their six children along.
The children helped provide material for Van Stockum books, such as the autobiographical series The Mitchells. In all she wrote and illustrated over twenty books and illustrated ten or more for other writers. Later years saw Van Stockum concentrating on painting more ambitiously, and she had individual shows at several galleries in Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, the United States, and the Netherlands. This gifted painter and author of The Winged Watchman and many more books set abroad passed away from a stroke in England on November 1, 2006. She was 98 years old.
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