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Natalie Babbitt

Biography

Natalie Babbitt

I was born and raised in Ohio. During my childhood, I spent most of my time drawing and reading fairy tales and myths. My mother, an amateur landscape and portrait painter, gave me art lessons. She always made sure I had enough paper, paint, pencils, and encouragement. I grew up wanting only to be an illustrator. I studied art at Laurel School in Cleveland and at Smith College.

Right after graduation, I married Samuel Fisher Babbitt, an academic administrator. I spent the next ten years in Connecticut, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., raising our children, Christopher, Tom, and Lucy.

My husband took time out from his academic career to write a novel and discovered that he didn't enjoy the long, lonely hours that writing demanded. My sister produced a comic novel, which required substantial rewriting. I learned three valuable things from observing my husband's and sister's forays into the writer's world: You have to give writing your full attention. You have to like the revision process. And you have to like to be alone. But it was years before I put any of this to good use.

In 1966, my husband and I collaborated on a children's book called The Forty-ninth Magician -- he wrote it and I illustrated it. With encouragement from our editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, I continued producing children's books even after my husband became too busy to write the stories.

I write for children because I am interested in fantasy and the possibilities for experience of all kinds before the time of compromise. I believe that children are far more perceptive and wise than American books give them credit for being.

Natalie Babbitt

Books by Natalie Babbitt

by Natalie Babbitt - Anthology, Children's, Essays, Literary, Literary Criticism, Nonfiction

In this collection of essays and speeches written over the course of four decades, beloved storyteller Natalie Babbitt explores what it was like to be a “little dog” in the literary world, continually being forced to justify her choice to write books for children --- instead of doing something more serious. Babbitt offers incisive commentary on classic children’s books as well as contemporary works, and reveals colorful insights into her own personal creative life. Filled with a voice that rings with truth, wisdom, and humor across the years, her essays exemplify on every page true reverence for children and an endless engagement with the challenge to write the books that shape them.

by Natalie Babbitt - Children's 8-12, Fiction
Everyone in town knows Herbert Rowbarge as the wealthy creator of the Rowbarge Pleasure Dome, a fantastic amusement park. But his past is murky. What the town doesn’t know is that Herbert was born a penniless orphan, sustained only by his desire to create something beautiful: An amusement park with a carousel featuring pairs of identical animals. Everything he’s achieved has been a product of that single-minded determination. What Herbert himself doesn’t know is that he is a twin. All he knows is that he has never felt complete. 
by Natalie Babbitt

Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.