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Barbara Cooney (1917–2000)

Author of Miss Rumphius

30+ Works 9,288 Members 269 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Barbara Cooney and her twin brother were born on 6 August 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, in the Bossert Hotel. She grew up on Long Island, but spent her summers as a child in Maine. Cooney attended a boarding school as a child. Cooney graduated from Smith College in 1938 and studied lithography and show more etching at Art Students League in New York. Just one year after graduation, she had her first commission, the illustrations for Ake and His World by Bertil Malmberg. Recalling an earlier trip to Germany before the war and the horrors that she had seen there, she felt compelled to join the Women's Army Corps during the summer of 1942. She enrolled in officer training and achieved the rank of second lieutenant, but was honorably discharged the following spring because of marriage pregnancy. The couple bought a farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts where they ran a children's camp during the summer months. By this time, Cooney was illustrating several books a year and wrote one now and then. It was for her adaptation of Chaucer's The Nun Priest's Tale that she won the prestigious Caldecott Medal, the highest honor given for illustrated children's books in the United States, in 1959. Twenty-one years later, Cooney again won the Caldecott Medal for Ox-Cart Man written by Donald Hall. In 1993, Ms. Cooney deposited more than 400 pieces of original art from 21 of her books in the Northeastern Children's Literature Collection, a part of the University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections. Works from this collection and from the artist's private collection are shown in this exhibit. Miss Rumphius won the National Book Award in 1983 and inspired the creation of the Maine Library Association's Lupine Award. Cooney died on 14 March, 2000 at the age of 83. Her last book was Basket Moon published in September of 1999. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Barbara Cooney

Miss Rumphius (1982) 6,256 copies
Island Boy (1988) 903 copies
Eleanor (1996) 902 copies
The Little Juggler (1961) 85 copies
Mother Goose in Spanish (1968) 13 copies
A Little Prayer (1967) 11 copies

Associated Works

Little Women (1868) — Illustrator, some editions — 26,124 copies
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1881) — Illustrator, some editions — 3,824 copies
Ox-Cart Man (1979) — Illustrator — 3,700 copies
Roxaboxen (1991) — Illustrator — 2,501 copies
Bambi: A Life in the Woods (1923) — Illustrator, some editions — 2,407 copies
Chanticleer and the Fox (1958) — Illustrator — 1,568 copies
The Story of Holly and Ivy (1958) — Illustrator, some editions — 1,288 copies
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story (1988) — Illustrator — 1,146 copies
The Big Book for Peace (1990) — Illustrator — 811 copies
Christmas in the Barn (1952) — Illustrator, some editions — 811 copies
Wynken, Blynken, & Nod (1889) — Illustrator, some editions — 780 copies
Kildee House (1949) — Illustrator — 751 copies
Emily (1992) — Illustrator — 723 copies
Seven Little Rabbits (1800) — Illustrator — 615 copies
Letting Swift River Go (1992) — Illustrator — 537 copies
Only Opal: The Diary of a Young Girl (1976) — Illustrator, some editions — 503 copies
Snow-White and Rose-Red (1818) — Illustrator, some editions — 433 copies
The Little Fir Tree (1954) — Illustrator, some editions — 412 copies
Emma (1980) — Illustrator — 398 copies
The Man Who Didn't Wash His Dishes (1950) — Illustrator — 344 copies
The Crows of Pearblossom (1967) — Illustrator, some editions — 339 copies
The Basket Moon (1999) — Illustrator — 312 copies
Peacock Pie (1913) — Illustrator, some editions — 312 copies
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (1870) — Illustrator, some editions — 225 copies
American Folk Songs for Children (1948) — Illustrator — 200 copies
Let's Keep Christmas (1837) — Illustrator, some editions — 194 copies
Where Have You Been? (1878) — Illustrator, some editions — 170 copies
Best in Children's Books 01 (1957) — Illustrator — 148 copies
When the Sky is Like Lace (1975) — Illustrator — 145 copies
The Book of Children's Classics (1997) — Illustrator — 122 copies
Squawk to the Moon, Little Goose (1974) — Illustrator — 119 copies
Spirit Child: A Story of the Nativity (1984) — Illustrator — 117 copies
The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons (1994) — Illustrator — 109 copies
Princess Tales (1971) — Illustrator — 87 copies
The Penguin Book of Classic Children's Characters (1997) — Contributor — 87 copies
Best in Children's Books 21 (1959) — Illustrator — 83 copies
Best in Children's Books 25 (1959) — Illustrator — 81 copies
Friends with God; stories and prayers of the Marshall family (1900) — Illustrator, some editions — 78 copies
Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Spain (1963) — Illustrator, some editions — 76 copies
Herman the Great (1973) — Illustrator — 69 copies
Just Plain Maggie (1950) — Illustrator — 67 copies
Best in Children's Books 03 (1957) — Illustrator — 65 copies
The Donkey Prince (1977) — Illustrator — 62 copies
Down to the Beach (1973) — Illustrator — 50 copies
The Best Christmas (1949) — Illustrator, some editions — 43 copies
Peter's Long Walk (1953) — Illustrator — 32 copies
Animal Folk Songs for Children (1950) — Illustrator — 30 copies
Away We Go!: 100 Poems for the Very Young (1956) — Illustrator — 22 copies
Demeter and Persephone: Homeric Hymn Number Two (1972) — Illustrator — 22 copies
The House Mouse (1973) — Illustrator — 21 copies
Read Me More Stories (1951) — Illustrator — 20 copies
Read Me Another Story (1949) — Illustrator — 20 copies
Christmas Folk (1969) — Illustrator — 19 copies
"I am cherry alive," the little girl sang (1979) — Illustrator — 15 copies
Hermes, Lord of Robbers: Homeric Hymn Number Four (1971) — Illustrator — 14 copies
Katie's Magic Glasses (1965) — Illustrator — 14 copies
Dionysos and the Pirates: Homeric Hymn Number Seven (1970) — Illustrator — 14 copies
Pepper (1952) — Illustrator — 12 copies
The Brookline Trunk (2005) — Illustrator, some editions — 11 copies
The Sad Story of the Little Bluebird and the Hungry Cat (1975) — Illustrator — 8 copies
Three Little Dachshunds (1963) — Illustrator — 7 copies
Yours with Love, Kate (1952) — Illustrator — 5 copies

Tagged

19th century (506) American (223) American literature (362) animals (281) Barbara Cooney (171) biography (249) Caldecott (252) children (737) children's (1,324) children's books (228) children's fiction (300) children's literature (606) Christmas (971) Civil War (298) classic (1,256) classics (1,320) collection:Fiction (396) coming of age (186) family (833) fiction (3,502) flowers (334) hardcover (443) historical fiction (544) history (283) imagination (184) juvenile (215) literature (518) New England (328) novel (313) own (218) paperback (226) picture book (1,910) poetry (412) read (391) realistic fiction (188) shelf:Fiction (396) sisters (339) to-read (1,135) travel (200) young adult (296)

Common Knowledge

Birthdate
1917-08-06
Date of death
2000-03-10
Gender
female
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Place of death
Damariscotta, Maine, USA
Places of residence
Long Island, New York, USA
Maine, USA
Education
Smith College (History)
Occupations
children's book author
children's book illustrator
Relationships
Murchie, Guy (husband)
Short biography
Barbara Cooney was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a stockbroker and her mother was an artist who encouraged Barbara's talent for art. She attended private schools and graduated from Smith College before briefly attending art school in New York. A year later, she got her first commission: the illustrations for Ake and His World (1940) by Bertil Malmberg. During World War II, Barbara served in the Women’s Army Corps and married Guy Murchie in 1944. They had two children. The couple later divorced and Barbara remarried in 1949 to Charles T. Porter, a physician, with whom she had two children. In the course of her long career, Barbara Cooney illustrated more than 100 books. After receiving her second Caldecott award, she began to write books as well. In her final years, she lived in a house in Maine overlooking the sea.

Members

Reviews

Signed edition
 
Flagged
RCornell | 49 other reviews | Oct 19, 2023 |
Barbara Cooney's story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.
 
Flagged
PlumfieldCH | 168 other reviews | Sep 21, 2023 |
One of my favorite books as a child and potentially my first role-model. I still go crazy every time I find a hillside full of lupines.
 
Flagged
Kiramke | 168 other reviews | Jun 27, 2023 |
I was super duper skeptical of this book being my upcoming My First Books selection....and while I am unsure if I will use it in the actual storytime, I found this book BEAUTIFUL in its illustrations.

I love lupine. It's a favorite around the mountains. So scattering lupine around the oceans, oh the beauty! Leaving the world a more beautiful place than we left it. Making a difference. These are great life lessons for all readers. Miss Rumphius had seen the world but in the end, she made home a destination in and of itself. THIS is important to remember as we still live in Covid times. Home can be beautiful too.… (more)
 
Flagged
msgabbythelibrarian | 168 other reviews | Jun 11, 2023 |

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Statistics

Works
30
Also by
68
Members
9,288
Popularity
#2,596
Rating
4.1
Reviews
269
ISBNs
133
Languages
4
Favorited
6

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