Some Writers of Children's Classics and their Creations

1.Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832-1898

Lewis Carroll, as he is better known, was born in Daresbury, near Warrington, Lancashire, and was educated at a private school in Richmond, Yorkshire, before going on to Rugby School in 1846 and Christ Church, Oxford, in 1851. And there he remained, as a Fellow of the College.

His first book for children, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, appeared in 1865. It was devised to amuse the daughter of the dean of his college. It portrays Alice as a no-nonsense, confident little girl, possessed of considerable common sense, caught up in entirely fantastic - today we might say surreal - adventures. Its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, was published in 1871 .

Find out more about Lewis Carroll

Find out more about Alice in Wonderland

2.Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

was born in Manchester, England, in 1849 but moved with her widowed mother to Tennessee, USA, in 1865. She wrote for adults as well as children. Her best known children's books are Little Lord Fauntleroy(1886) and The Secret Garden (1911).

The eponymous hero of Little Lord Fauntleroy is portrayed as open, loyal, trusting and courageous. He has a keen sense of fair play and is alert to the needs of the disadvantaged. In the book he unwittingly converts his self-centred and miserly grandfather - an Earl - into a compassionate landlord.

Frances Hodgson Burnett was influenced by the writings of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)and in The Secret Garden a pampered, ill-tempered, invalid boy, Colin Craven, regains health and strength by taking an interest in bringing an overgrown garden back to a thriving place of beauty. He is greatly helped by a country lad, Dickon, who has an immense love for, and understanding of, the natural world, wild animals and birds. Much of Colin's ill health comes, Burnett suggests, from idleness and imagination. The heroine of the book is Colin's cousin, Mary Lennox, another disagreeable child, an orphan who gains in happiness, self-reliance and consideration for others.

Find out more about Frances Hodgson Burnett

3.Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

Kenneth Grahame was a Scot, tracing his ancestry to Robert the Bruce. He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford, and thereafter made a career in banking.

Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willowsfor his son, Alastair, who was born in 1900. Perhaps Grahame intended its hero to be Mole, the kindly, self-effacing, little creature, but it is the swaggering, well-to-do and utterly foolish but resourceful Toad who has proved the most memorable.

4.Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)

Beatrix Potter's small-sized books have delighted children for more than a century. She was at least as much an artist as a writer. Her childhood was spent in London where the well-to-do family has a house in South Kensington. She was encouraged by her parents to draw and paint. Early holidays were spent in Perthshire but in 1882 the family went for the first time to the Lake District. An amateur naturalist, Beatrix drew, painted and studied plants and animals. Her paper on 'the germination of the spores of the Agaricinea' (a fungus) was read at a meeting of the Linnean Society of London although, as a young woman, she was not able to attend herself! Potter's first children's story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit', was written and illustrated as a letter to the son of her governess. It was published by Frederick Warne and Co in 1901. Twenty-one further books, in a similar format, followed. In 1905 Potter bought Hill Top Farm, Near Sawrey, in the Lake District, with some of her royalties. After her parents' death, she moved to the Lake District and continued to buy property there, in particular farm-land to save it from developers. In 1913 she married a local solicitor, William Heelis. She left 15 farms, many cottages, and 4000 acres of land to the National Trust.She was a Unitarian.Her parents are buried at Hyde (Unitarian) Chapel. During her lifetime she hosted Unitarian Sunday School visitors on her farm.

5.A A Milne (1882-1956)

A A Milne was the creator of the greatly-loved character Winnie the Pooh. Milne's father ran a private school in Kilburn, London. The boy won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1906 became assistant editor at the satirical magazine Punch. After service in the first world war, Milne turned to writing plays, including the adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows as Toad of Toad Hall.

Milne's son, Christopher Robin, born in 1920, was the inspiration for his two books about the bear, Winnie the Pooh, and his friends of the Hundred Acre Wood, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Roo.Winnie the Poohwas published in 1926 and The House at Pooh Cornerfollowed in 1928.

Find out more about Winnie the Pooh

6. Arthur Ransome (1884-1967)

Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, and as a boy spent many of his holidays in the Lake District. His children's books are set either there or in Norfolk, primarily on the rivers and broads. The children he portrays are almost always skilled sailors. They are generally intelligent, independent and responsible and are given considerable freedom by their parents who trust their skills and good sense. One of the best known of the books, Swallows and Amazons has been made into a film.

Find out more about Arthur Ransome

7.Richmal Crompton (1890-1969)

Richmal Crompton was born in Bury, Lancashire, and educated there and at London University. She embarked on a career as a teacher but contracted polio in 1923. She spent the remainder of her life writing, creating the immensely popular character, William Brown. William is the hero of many books, such as Just William, William - the Detective and William - the BadHe is amongst the great unromantics of literature! He has a healthy disrespect for all adults and most forms of authority and leads his small gang of 'outlaws' into many misadventures.

Find out more about Richmal Crompton

8. J R R Tolkien (1892-1973

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa on 3 January 1892. He, his mother, and his younger brother returned to England in 1895. A year later they learned of his father's death. His mother died when he was twelve. Converted to Roman Catholicism, he came under the influence of Father Francis Xavier Morgan of Birmingham Oratory who gave him both moral and financial support. He won an open scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford in 1910. He gained a first-class honours degree in 1915 and went directly into the armed forces, fighting on the Somme. After the war he taught at Leeds University. In 1945 he became Merton Professor of English at Oxford.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit for his own children. It was published in 1937. The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is a seemingly unheroic little figure who gets caught up in adventures which demand the best of him. The Hobbit was followed in the 1950s by The Lord of the Rings. The first part of this was made into a film in 2001.

Find out more about Tolkien

9. C S Lewis (1898-1963)

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After his mother's death, in 1908, he was sent to school in England and in 1916 he won a scholarship to University College, Oxford. He fought in the Somme, returning to his studies at Oxford in 1919. He took a first in Greats in 1922 and a first in English in 1923. Thereafter he served as a don at Oxford until 1954 when he accepted the chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature in Cambridge.

The first of Lewis's seven Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published in 1950. The books are fantasies in which four children enter the land of Narnia via a wardrobe. They are implicitly Christian in ideas with the great lion, Aslan, representing a Christ-like figure.

Find out more about C S Lewis

10.William Mayne (1928-)

William Mayne spent his boyhood at the choir school attached to Canterbury Cathedral and his experiences there contributed to his early books, Choristers' Cake and A Swarm in May.

An interview with William Mayne

11. Ursula le Guin (1929- )

Ursula Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929, the daughter of an anthropologist, Alfred Kroeber.In 1968 she married Charles Le Guin. She has written 17 novels and 13 children's books as well as poetry, essays and reviews. In 1968 she won the Boston Book Award for The Wizard of Earthsea , the first of six books set in her imagined archipelago.

12. Alan Garner (1934- )

Alan Garner is closely associated with Alderley Edge where he lived as a child and where his books, involving legend and myth, are set. His first book was The Weirdstone of Brisangamen. He was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his services to literature.

Find out more about Alan Garner

13. Joanne Kathleen Rowling (1965- )

J.K.Rowling is surely the most popular and successful children's writer of all time. She was born in Chepstow, Gwent, and educated there and at Exeter University. She worked for Amnesty International and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language. After her daughter was born and she separated from her husband she completed the first of the Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stonewhich was published in 1997.It won numerous awards including the British Book Award's Children's Book of the Year and in 2001 was made into a film.

Harry Potter is both a rather ordinary boy, although stoically enduring the ill-treatment of his aunt and uncle, but is at the same time entirely extraordinary, for he is a wizard. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry in the film, describes him as 'genuine' and 'loyal' and as having a great bond with his friends.He and his friends use their magic powers intentionally for good (unintentionally they may get involved in embarrassing escapades)and the conflict between good and evil is one of the themes of the books.

Find out more about J.K. Rowling

14. Emma Maree Urquart (1991- )

Donna Maree Urquart, an Inverness schoolgirl, had her first book, Dragon Tamers, published in December 2004.

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