Children's Author/Illustrator Biographies
2001 Ludington Award Winner
Charlotte Zolotow is a revered name in children's literature. She is a prolific, much-honored author with over seventy titles published, including the classic Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and the groundbreaking William's Doll, illustrated by William Péne du Bois.
In addition, she has been a distinguished editor and publisher (she is now a HarperCollins Publisher Emerita), and by extension, an innovative educator. Her editorial career began under the brilliant Ursula Nordstrom, publisher of Harper Children's Books. The two shared a passionate belief: that children's books should be honest and faithful to the sometimes difficult but always intensely felt experiences of childhood. They were certain that children were capable of understanding the best work gifted artists and writers could give them.
Charlotte Zolotow was born in 1915 in Norfolk, Virginia, but grew up in several cities, including Detroit, New York, and Boston. She attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and shortly afterward returned to New York, where in 1938 she began working at HarperCollins, then Harper & Brothers.
She started as a secretary, but moved into an editorial career, working with Ursula Nordstrom. Their shared beliefs and the excitement of working with fine writers and artists brought to Harper generations of extraordinary authors and illustrators and gave Harper Children's Books their fresh, innovative quality. Talent was nurtured; books of lasting value were created, many still loved and read decades after they were first published. As Jean Mercier wrote in Publishers Weekly, Charlotte Zolotow would be among the Who's Who of any age, not only as the author of books of her own, but as a force majeure behind many children's books on the distinctive list of Harper.
Charlotte Zolotow has received numerous awards and honors, including the Regina Medal (2002) presented by the Catholic Library Association, the University of Minnesota's Irwin Kerlan Award (1986), the University of Southern Mississippi's Silver Medallion (1990), the Christopher Award (1974), and the Harper Gold Medal for Outstanding Editorial Achievement (1974). Of ongoing significance is the award established in 1998 in her name by the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The Charlotte Zolotow Award, presented annually by the University's Cooperative Center for Children's Books, is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year.
The 1991 resolution of gratitude given to Charlotte Zolotow by the American Library Association calls her contribution to children's literature far reaching. That reach extends far indeed. It begins with the many books she has written carry her vision into the hearts of children past, present, and future.
She has written more than seventy books for young children, many of which -- have become picture-book classics.
Biography provided by HarperCollins.
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