Born in Hungary on September 20, 1888, Miska entered the world and by age seven had decided to become an artist. He gave up his idea of being a sea captain and instead saved his money for paints. By age twelve, Miska was accomplished and could support himself through his artwork. He attended the Royal Academy of Art in Budapest and graduated with the highest honors bestowed on a student. With so much talent and potential, Miska decided to avoid military service and try his hand in England's art world. When no one could pronounce his proper name, Petrezselyem Mikaly, he changed it to Miska Petersham.
When he couldn't find enough work in England, Miska remembered the stories of the American West with cowboys and Indians. With three friends, he sailed for America and worked at a variety of commercial art jobs. Wanting to always see the world around him and travel, Miska consistently saved his money and then bought a ticket somewhere else. It was while he held a position at the International Art Service that he met Maud Fuller. He offered her his advice, tutored her, and then married her. Maud became his illustrating and writing partner and the mother to their son.
With the successful publication of their first book called Miki about a boy's travels to Hungary, the Petershams began a journey of their own. After their book, a friend of Miska's asked them to illustrate a book for him because his own hectic schedule didn't allow him the time. Taking on this project, the Petershams not only completed it, they became well-known for their illustrating abilities. They illustrated books for other authors and created their own written and illustrated works. With Miska's traveling experience and his birth abroad and Maud's adventuresome attitude and religious background, the Petersham's developed books blending words and pictures. Children and adults appreciated the stories and their visual appeal. In 1942 Miska and Maud won the runner-up award for the Caldecott Medal, and in 1946, their book of patriotic American rhymes and jingles called The Rooster Crows won the Caldecott Medal.
Miska and Maud continued improving their artistic abilities and became known for their emphasis on the whole book design and creating mastery of the lithographic method. They set a high standard of quality for their books that later generations followed. People mourned Miska's passing on May 15, 1960.
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