Olivia Coolidge was a noted author of biographies and historical fiction for young adults; her works have been widely praised for their accuracy and attention to detail. Born in London, England in 1908, she attended Somerville College at Oxford University, where her studies included Latin, Greek, and philosophy. Her knowledge of these subjects, combined with her clarity and smoothness of style, helped earn her a place in the pantheon of children's literature. She graduated with a BA in 1931 and an MA in 1940, to begin a teaching career in both England and the United States.
Her first book for children, Greek Myths, was published in 1949. These mythological retellings demonstrate her careful research and adriot capacity to bring the past to life for readers. She was able to craft detailed pictures of the ancient world's customs and lifestyle, and make them integral to her stories. Men of Athens (1962) was a Newbery Honor book in 1963, an American Library Association Notable Book and was also on the Horn Book honor list. Her young adult biographies include Gandhi (1971), Eugene O'Neill (1966), and Tom Paine, Revolutionary (1969).
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