Friday, May 23, 2008

Author Spotlight: Eleanor Estes

Eleanor Estes was an award-winning children's author. She first began writing during her recovery from tuberculosis, when, bedridden, she wrote down her own childhood memories as a series of stories for young readers. Before her death in 1988 at the age of 82, Mrs. Estes had written 19 books for children, as well as one novel for adults.

Born in 1906, Eleanor Estes grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked at the Free Public Library there - first as an assistant, then eventually as head librarian. In 1931 she was awarded the Caroline M. Hewins scholarship for children's librarians, and used these funds to attend the Pratt Institute Library School. She continued her library career with the New York Public Library, where she stayed until 1940. Her first book, The Moffats, was published in 1941, and launched her full-time writing career.

Eleanor Estes' award-winning books include:
Ginger Pye - Newbery Medal 1952
The Middle Moffat - Newbery Honor Book 1943
Rufus M. - Newbery Honor Book 1944
The Hundred Dresses - Newbery Honor Book 1945

In addition to book awards, Mrs. Estes received the Certificate for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature in 1962, and was nominated for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

Responding to a New York Times Book Review query regarding what she was trying to say to children, Eleanor Estes replied:

"I am holding up a mirror, and the scene reflected in the mirror is a true image of childhood, and the mirror, besides reflecting, also speaks and echoes the clear, profound, unpremeditated utterances, thoughts and imageries of children. I like to make children laugh or cry, to be moved in some way by my writing."



  1. My daughters (6 and 7) and I just finished reading Eleanor Estes The Hundred Dresses. Thank you for your comments on Mrs. Estes and her career.

  2. My 9-year-old likes your site. She just finished reading Ginger Pye and enjoyed it very much! We lived in State College for a while even though we didn't go to Penn State. The Happy Valley is beautiful!


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