Wilbur Monroe Leaf (aka Munro Leaf) (December 4, 1905 – December 21, 1976), was an American author of children's literature who wrote and illustrated nearly 40 books during his 40-year career. Born in Hamilton, Maryland, Leaf graduated from the University of Maryland in 1927 and from Harvard University with a Master's degree in English literature in 1931. He taught secondary school and then worked as an editor with the publisher Frederick A. Stokes Company. Leaf once commented, "Early on in my writing career I realized that if one found some truths worth telling they should be told to the young in terms that were understandable to them."
He is best known for The Story of Ferdinand (1936), a children's classic which he wrote for his friend (illustrator Robert Lawson) on a yellow legal-length pad in less than an hour. Labeled as subversive, it stirred an international controversy. The story, which follows a gentle bull in rural Spain who prefers smelling flowers to bullfighting, sparked considerable controversy because Ferdinand was regarded by some as a pacifist symbol. Banned in Spain and burned as propaganda in Nazi Germany, the book had over 60 foreign translations and has never gone out of print. The story was adapted into a Walt Disney film which won a 1938 Academy Award.
Leaf and Lawson's second collaboration, Wee Gillis, about a boy living in Scotland halfway between his father's family in the Highlands and his mother's in the Lowlands, was cited as a 1939 Caldecott Honor Book.
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