Meindert deJong was born on March 4th, 1906 in the village of Wierum, of the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands. Meindert was a descendent of noble French Huguenot families who fled to the Netherlands during the French Revolution. When he was 8, in 1914, his family moved to Michigan in the United States. He attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also entered the University of Chicago, but left without graduating.
While working toward becoming a full-time writer, Meindert held such diverse jobs as college professor, gravedigger, mason, tiner, sexton, and bricklayer. Eventually, his writing career took off and he wrote many works that would become children's classics. In 1962, he was awarded the Hans Christian Anderson Medal. His book Wheel on the School won the 1955 Newbery Medal and four of his others were Newbery Honors. He wrote several more books before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, serving in China. After the war he resumed writing, and for several years resided in Mexico. He returned for a time to Michigan before settling in North Carolina. He died July 16th, 1991.
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