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Natalie Babbitt

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Natalie Babbitt
Natalie Zane Moore

(1932-07-18)July 18, 1932
DiedOctober 31, 2016(2016-10-31) (aged 84)
Resting placeGrove Street Cemetery
New Haven, Connecticut
Alma materSmith College (BA)
Occupation(s)Writer, illustrator
Years active1966–2012
SpouseSamuel Fisher Babbitt[1]

Natalie Zane Babbitt (née Moore; July 28, 1932 – October 31, 2016) was an American writer and illustrator of children's books. Her 1975 novel, Tuck Everlasting, was adapted into two feature films and a Broadway musical. She received the Newbery Honor and Christopher Award, and was the U.S. nominee for the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1982.[2]


Natalie Moore was born in Dayton, Ohio, on July 28, 1932.[3][4] She studied at Laurel School in Cleveland, and Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt, and the couple had three children, born between 1956 and 1960.[5]

The Babbitts collaborated to create The Forty-ninth Magician, a picture book, that Samuel wrote and Natalie 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 fourth 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 16th 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 in 2002[11]) and The Eyes of the Amaryllis in 1982.[12] The former was also adapted as a Broadway musical, which premiered in Atlanta on February 4, 2015, and played on Broadway from April 26 to May 29, 2016.[13]

In addition to her own writing, Babbitt also illustrated a number of books by Valerie Worth.[14] Babbitt died on October 31, 2016, at her home in Hamden, Connecticut. Upon her death, she had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.[15]

Critical appraisal[edit]

With her novel Goody Hall (1971), Babbitt was a finalist in the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

In 1977, The New York Times called Babbitt "Indisputably one of our most gifted and ambitious writers for children".[16]

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."[17]

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."[18]

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.[19]


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

As writer[edit]

As illustrator[edit]


  1. ^ "Babbitt, Samuel F.". LC Authorities. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  2. ^ "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 (literature.at). Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  3. ^ "Babbitt, Natalie". Library of Congress Authorities (lccn.loc.gov). Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  4. ^ "Babbitt, Natalie". Children's books and their creators. Anita Silvey, editor. Houghton Mifflin. 1995. p. 43.
  5. ^ a b "Natalie Babbitt". Courtesy of Natalie Babbitt. 1996. ipl2 (ipl.org). Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "Biography: Natalie Babbitt" Archived August 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Scholastic Teachers (scholastic.com/teachers). Retrieved September 24, 2015. With linked transcript of an 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 (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. 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. ^ "Broadway Premiere of Tuck Everlasting Sets Complete Cast". Broadway.com. January 15, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  14. ^ Silvey, Anita (2002). The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0547348894.
  15. ^ "Tuck Everlasting author Natalie Babbitt dies at 84". The Guardian. Associated Press. October 31, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Woods, George A. (November 30, 1982). "Books of The Times". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Providence's 'Tuck Everlasting' author honored with first E.B. White Award". Providence Journal. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Natalie Babbitt". Macmillan. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  21. ^ "The Big book for peace". WorldCat. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Natalie Babbitt's List of Books | Scholastic Teacher". Scholastic Teachers. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  23. ^ "All the Small Poems and Fourteen More". Macmillan. Archived from the original on February 25, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marina Caracciolo, Un romanzo fantastico non esclusivamente per ragazzi: La fonte magica (Tuck Everlasting), di Natalie Babbitt; in Otto saggi brevi, Genesi Editrice, Torino (I), 2017

External links[edit]