Natalie Babbitt

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Natalie Babbitt
Born Natalie Zane Moore[1]
(1932-07-28) July 28, 1932 (age 83)
Dayton, Ohio
Occupation Writer, illustrator
Nationality American
Education BA (Arts)
Alma mater Smith College
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Tuck Everlasting
Notable awards 1982 Hans Christian Andersen Award U.S. nomination
Years active 1966–present
Spouse Samuel Fisher Babbitt[2]
Children Three

Natalie Babbitt (born July 28, 1932)[1][3] is an American writer and illustrator of children's books. For her contributions as a children's writer she was U.S. nominee for the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1982.[4]


Born Natalie Zane Moore in Dayton, Ohio,[1] Babbitt studied at Laurel School in Cleveland and Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt and the couple have three children, born 1956 to 1960.[5] They lived in his home town of New Haven, Connecticut, when he earned the PhD in 1965 and became the president of Kirkland College in Clinton, New York (1965 to 1978).[2]

The Babbitts collaborated to create The Forty-ninth Magician, a picture book that he wrote and she illustrated, published by Pantheon Books in 1966. Samuel became too busy to participate but editor Michael di Capua at Farrar, Straus and Giroux encouraged Natalie to continue producing children's books.[6] After writing and illustrating two short books in verse, she turned to children's novels, and her second effort in that vein, Knee-Knock Rise, was awarded a Newbery Honor in 1971.[7]

Tuck Everlasting, published in 1975, was named an ALA Notable book and continues to be popular with teachers.[8] It was ranked number 16 among the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2012 survey published by School Library Journal.[9] Two of her books have been adapted as movies: Tuck Everlasting twice, in 1981[10] and 2002,[11] and The Eyes of the Amaryllis in 1982.[12] At the present time, "Tuck Everlasting" is being prepared as a Broadway musical, opening in Atlanta on February 4, 2015. In addition to her own writing, Babbitt has also illustrated a number of books by Valerie Worth.


In 1977, The New York Times called Babbitt "Indisputably one of our most gifted and ambitious writers for children".[13]

In 1982, another Times reviewer, George Woods, enjoyed Babbitt's Herbert Rowbarge. "Mrs. Babbitt creates a plausible world and peoples it with believable humans, but the most satisfaction comes from the pleasure of her company as she effortlessly takes the reader in velvet-gloved hand to point out life's coincidences and near misses."[14]

In 2002, Melanie Rehak, also writing in the Times, described Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting as a "slim, ruminative" novel, and stated that "From the moment it appeared, it has been fiercely loved by children and their parents for its honest, intelligent grappling with aging and death."[15]

In 2012, Babbitt was awarded the inaugural E.B. White Award for achievement in children's literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.[16]


Picture books (‡) were written and illustrated by Babbitt unless noted otherwise.

As writer[edit]

  • 1967 Dick Foote and the Shark
  • 1968 Phoebe's Revolt
  • 1969 The Search for Delicious, self-illus.
  • 1970 Knee-Knock Rise, self-illus.
  • 1970 The Something
  • 1971 Goody Hall, self-illus.
  • 1974 The Devil's Storybook, self-illus.
  • 1976 Tuck Everlasting
  • 1977 The Eyes of the Amaryllis
  • 1982 Herbert Rowbarge
  • 1987 The Devil's Other Storybook, self-illus.
  • 1989 Nellie: A Cat on Her Own
  • 1990 "Bus for deadhorse", illus. Jon Agee, in Ann Durrell and Marilyn Sachs, eds., The Big Book for Peace (E. P. Dutton)[17]
  • 1994 Bub: Or the Very Best Thing
  • 1998 Ouch!: A Tale from Grimm, illus. Fred Marcellino
  • 2001 Elsie Times Eight
  • 2007 Jack Plank Tells Tales, self-illus.
  • 2011 The Moon Over High Street
  • 2012 The Devil's Storybooks – omnibus edition of The Devil's Storybook and The Devil's Other Storybook

As illustrator[edit]

  • 1966 Samuel Babbitt, The Forty-ninth Magician
  • 1972 Valerie Worth, Small Poems
  • 1976 Valerie Worth, More Small Poems
  • 1978 Valerie Worth, Still More Small Poems
  • 1980 Valerie Worth, Curlicues, the Fortunes of Two Pug Dogs
  • 1985 Valerie Worth, Small Poems Again
  • 1986 Valerie Worth, Other Small Poems Again
  • 1987 Valerie Worth, All the Small Poems
  • 1994 Valerie Worth, All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
  • 2002 Valerie Worth, Peacock and Other Poems


  1. ^ a b c "Babbitt, Natalie". Library of Congress Authorities ( Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Babbitt, Samuel F.‏". LC Authorities. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  3. ^ "Babbitt, Natalie". Children's books and their creators. Anita Silvey, editor. Houghton Mifflin. 1995. p. 43.
  4. ^ "Candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 1956–2002". The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Pages 110–18. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online ( Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "Natalie Babbitt". Courtesy of Natalie Babbitt. 1996. ipl2 ( Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "Biography: Natalie Babbitt". Scholastic Teachers ( Retrieved September 24, 2015. With linked transcript of interview by Scholastic students (no date).
  7. ^ "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
      "The John Newbery Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". National Education Association. 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ Tuck Everlasting (1981) Allmovie entry
  11. ^ Tuck Everlasting (2002) Allmovie entry
  12. ^ The Eyes of the Amaryllis (1982) Allmovie entry
  13. ^ Lanes, Selma G. (November 13, 1977). "Love Story, Sea Story". The New York Times Book Review. pp. BR10. Retrieved May 13, 2012.  Entire article available by subscription or purchase only.
  14. ^ Woods, George A. (November 30, 1982). "Books of The Times". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  15. ^ Rehak, Melanie (October 6, 2002). "Film: Falling for a Children's Tale of an Age-Old Wish". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Providence's 'Tuck Everlasting' author honored with first E.B. White Award". Providence Journal. March 14, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013. [dead link]
  17. ^ "The Big book for peace". WorldCat. Retrieved July 22, 2013.

External links[edit]