Sonia Bleeker was born in Russia and came to the United States as a child. She graduated from Hunter Colllege and did graduate study in anthropology at Columbia University. Bleeker studied with famous anthropologist Franz Boas and with other pioneers in the field at Columbia. She was first an editor for the publishing house Simon and Schuster in New York City, and then from 1950 on she became a full-time writer of books for middle grade children, mostly about Native American tribal peoples and about African indigenous people groups.
She has been widely acclaimed for her seventeen books of the Indians of North and Central America and for her fine books on the the peoples of Africa. Educated in the New York Public Schools, Dr. Bleeker (Mrs. Herbert S. Zim) received her B.A. degree from Hunter College and did graduate work in anthropology at Columbia University, under Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. In 1967, she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Beloit College, Wisconsin.
Ms. Bleeker was married to prolific science and nature writer Herbert Zim, and although Mr. Zim wrote or edited more than a hundred books for children, his wife was also quite a productive author, with more than thirty books to her credit. Mr. and Mrs. Zim traveled all over the world, researching their books. While she studied anthropology and the stories of people groups, he studied the flora and fauna of the regions they visited for his nature books. Sonia Bleeker's final book, Life and Death, was co-written with her husband, and it compared and contrasted death customs and rituals among various peoples that the couple had encountered or researched in their travels.
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