By the time The News-Gazette readers read this article, I will be a new father. My wife and I are having a daughter and we couldn’t be happier to welcome her into the world.

With that in mind, I tried to find inspiration in my new role as a parent for the Champaign County Historical Archives contribution to this week’s “Inside Out” entry.

So today I present a brief history of some of the great children’s authors and books of the illustrious history of our country.

  • In 1925, Adelaide D. Royer (1878-1954), wife of the famous architect Urbana Joseph Royer, published her first and only book, “Fairy Book: Round Window Series”.

According to Royer, his book was “a collection of little random tales, told to satisfy children for a moment and justify their belief in fairies.” The nearly 100-page fairy tale book is complemented by illustrations by Nell Brooker Mayhew.

Royer dedicated the book to “the little house grandmother and her grandchildren,” who appeared to be his mother, Ella Danely, who lived in what was called the mother-in-law’s cottage, or house of the mother-in-law. fairy tale, behind Adelaide. and Joseph’s house on Oregon Street in Urbana.

  • Our next author, Rebecca Caudill (1899-1985), was not born in Champaign County but moved to Urbana as an adult and began her career as a youth fiction writer shortly thereafter.

His first book was “Barrie and Daughter” (1943) and was inspired by memories of his childhood in the countryside of Kentucky and Tennessee. The pioneer Appalachian Kentucky / Tennessee framework has become a regular framework for many of his books.

Caudill’s 1949 book “Tree of Freedom” was a Newberry Honor Book in 1950, and his 1964 book “A Pocketful of Crickets” was a Caldecott Honor Book.

In addition to publishing over 25 books during her lifetime, Caudill was posthumously honored with the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award. According to the group’s website, it is “an annual award given to the most outstanding book author elected by students in grades four to eight at the participating Illinois school.”

  • The last author that I will highlight is Natalia Maree Belting (1915-1997). Belting was a well-known local historian, professor of history at the University of Illinois, and author of many important manuscripts relating to the history of Champaign County and Illinois.

She obtained her masters and her doctorate. in UI history and wrote his theses / dissertations on the history of The News-Gazette and the beginnings of CU until 1871.

In addition to her academic work, she was also a prolific children’s author, with over 20 books in this category, including “Calendar Moon”, “Summer’s Coming In” and “Our Father’s had Powerful Songs”.

Like Caudill, many of Belting’s books have been placed in a historical setting, particularly 18th-century French colonial Illinois. In her final years as a history teacher, she even taught a historical fiction writing class for children.

Want to know more about these authors or read their works? Stop by the Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library.

Tom Kuipers is the Archives Assistant of the Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library and Museum Director at the Champaign County History Museum.


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