Natalie Babbitt

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Natalie Babbitt (born July 28, 1932)[1] 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.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Babbit attended Laurel School and then Smith College, where she studied art.

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.[3] 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.[4]

Tuck Everlasting, published in 1975, was named an ALA Notable book and continues to be popular with teachers.[5][6] Two of her books have been turned into movies: Tuck Everlasting twice, in 1981[7] and 2002,[8] and The Eyes of the Amaryllis in 1982.[9] 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.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt and the couple have three children.[10]


In 1977, the New York Times called Babbitt "Indisputably one of our most gifted and ambitious writers for children".[11]

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."[12]

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."[13]

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.[14]


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", self-illus., in Ann Durrell and Marilyn Sachs, eds., The Big Book for Peace (E. P. Dutton)[15]
  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Babbitt, Natalie." in Children's books and their creators., ed. Anita Silvey. (1995) Houghton Mifflin. p. 43
  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 ( Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ Bird, Elizabeth. "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". 
  7. ^ Tuck Everlasting (1981) Allmovie entry
  8. ^ Tuck Everlasting (2002) Allmovie entry
  9. ^ The Eyes of the Amaryllis (1982) Allmovie entry
  10. ^ She was deaf for about 25 years when a life changing beep clicked on her hearing and she can hear now but needs a hearing aid at times, Then she died at age 86. Actually, she is really fine and is living. "ipl2 profile". Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  11. ^ Lanes, Selma G. (November 13, 1977). "The New York Times Book Review". Love Story, Sea Story. pp. BR10. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ Woods, George A. (November 30, 1982). "The New York Times". Books of The Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ Rehak, Melanie (October 6, 2002). "The New York Times". Film: Falling for a Children's Tale of an Age-Old Wish. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ News Staff (March 14, 2013). "Providence Journal". Providence's 'Tuck Everlasting' author honored with first E.B. White Award. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Big book for peace". WorldCat. Retrieved July 22, 2013.

External links[edit]