Jean's website will continue to be updated. She continued to work up to the very last, as she had always wished. Her new work continues to inspire new generations.
Recent newsIn honor of the anniversary of Jean Craighead George’s 100th birthday (Jean passed away in 2012 at the age of 92) three events took place in June and July 2019.
June 29th- Jean Craighead George Day at the Craighead House in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.
The Craighead House celebrated Jean’s 100th birthday by hosting a Jean’s children, local falconers, displaying pictures of Jean’s life and her books, and providing activities for children and adults. Falconers Margaret Young "Falconry Girl" and her father Sean wowed the crowd with their highly-trained birds and spoke about the role of the Craighead family in fostering falconry in the United States. Twig, Craig, and Luke George gave short talks about Jean’s life and the importance of the Craighead House to the development of a close connection to nature for Jean and her brothers John and Frank Craighead. Over 50 people attended the event. The Craighead House is continuing to celebrate Jean’s 100th year via the Jean Craighead George Book of the Month Club.
Twig George speaking on Jean Craighead George Day.
Luke Speaking at Jean Craighead George Day at the Craighead House.
Margaret Young "Falconry Girl" and her father Sean speak about falconry, the three birds they are training and the contributions of Jean, John, and Frank Craighead to falconry in the US.
Grace Willacy sings during Jean Craighead George Day.
Jean's bedroom in the Craighead House. Jean spent many hours writing and drawing at the table in the picture.
June 30th 2019- Bench in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden at the Arboretum at Penn State.
Jeni Zerphy, a Gifted Support Teacher at Gray's Woods/Radio Park Elementary Schools in State College, Pennsylvania, has been on a mission to establish a bench in Jean’s name in the Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden on the Penn State campus for several years. Jean has a strong connection to Penn State. She received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Penn State, was honored as a Distinguished Alumni in 1968, and has been featured in Penn State’s alumni magazine. In the spring of 2019, Jeni launched a successful “Go Fund Me” page to raise the funds to establish a bench and helped get it in place for Jean’s 100th birthday. Jean’s children Twig, Craig, and Luke visited the arboretum, met Jeni, talked to some of Jeni’s students and took in the beautiful plants and sculptures in the Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden. Jeni is now working on commissioning a bronze sculpture of a crow to go with the bench. Jeni is truly a force of nature!
Jeni Zerphy sitting on the Jean Craighead George bench in the Arboretum at Penn State.
Twig, Craig (standing), and Luke George at Jean Craighead George bench in the Arboretum at Penn State.
Jeni Zephry and her students.
July 2nd- The Cannon Free Library in Delhi, New York was named a Literary Landmark by the Empire State Center for the Book.
The Cannon Free Library in Delhi, New York was the inspiration for the library that Sam Gribley visited in My Side of the Mountain. In 2019, Empire State Center for the Book named The Cannon Free Library a Literary Landmark for its role in the book and for inspiring children to read for over 100 years. The plaque was unveiled in a ceremony at the library on July 2, 2019 on the anniversary of Jean’s 100th birthday, and the 60th anniversary of the publication of My Side of the Mountain. Speakers at the event included: Susan Frisbee, Library Director; Mary Pelletier, Youth Services Librarian; Martin Podskoch, a local teacher and author; Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center for the Book; and Jean’s three children.
Rocco Staino, Director of Empire State Center for the Book, speaking at Cannon Free Library.
Mary Peltier, Youth Services Librarian at Cannon Free Library.
Susan Frisbee, Library Director of Cannon Free Library.
Kids doing projects on the day of the dedication.
My Side of the Mountain display in Cannon Free Library.
Unveiling the plaque designating the Cannon Free Library as a Literary Landmark.
The plaque was sponsored by the Empire Center for the Book with generous support from Penguin Random House.
Plaque at Cannon Free Library.
Craig George on the Sam Gribley Trail near Delhi, New York.
Shadow - The Cougar of Flat CreekIllustrations by John Dawson
Jean Craighead George finished The Cougar of Flat Creek four days before she died. She wrote it at the suggestion of her nephew Charlie Craighead, filmmaker and author. It is exquisitely illustrated by John Dawson, a wildlife illustrator who has worked on everything form ants to dinosaurs. HIs work can be found in the National Geographic Magazine, in publications and exhibits for the National Park Service and even on postage stamps.
All profits from the book go to The Cougar Fund.
"In 2012 Craighead George died just four days after completing the final draft of “Shadow.” She was 92 years old, and the children’s book was the last thing she was working on before she died."
New book says ‘Give cougars space’...read more...
The story of a young cougar claiming her place in the wild...
by Jean Craighead George (Author) , John Hendrix (Illustrator)
Ice Whale is a posthumous novel in the tradition of her Newbery award-winning Julie of the Wolves.
"In 1848 in Barrow, Alaska, a young Eskimo boy witnesses a rare sight—the birth of a bowhead, or ice whale, that he calls Siku. But when he unwittingly guides Yankee whalers to a pod of bowhead whales, many of the whales are killed. Because of this act, the boy receives a curse of banishment and must protect Siku through the generations. Siku, the ice whale, returns year after year to challenge each descendant. Bowhead whales can live for 200 years. The curse is finally broken when, many generations later, a daughter recognizes and saves the whale, and he in turn saves her. Told in alternating voices, both human and whale, Jean Craighead George’s last novel is an ambitious and touching take on the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the earth they depend on."
Publishers Weekly Review
Jean Craighead George, illus. by John Hendrix
"George returns to the northern Alaska setting of her Newbery-winning Julie of the Wolves in this expansive story, which the author's children, Twig George and Craig George, completed after her 2012 death. Spanning two centuries—from 1848 to 2048—the novel interlaces the stories and perspectives of a family of Yankee whaling captains; generations of an Yup'ik clan cursed after one of them inadvertently discloses the location of a pod of whales to greedy whalers; and Siku, a bowhead whale that shares a deep bond with the tribe. While the first narrative track sheds intriguing (and sobering) light on whaling strategies and history, the latter two are emotionally involving and expose the interconnectedness of humans and whales with eloquence and insight. In one of many hard-hitting moments, Siku's "grief was heard through the ocean" after he sees his mother killed by a harpoon. Jean Craighead George's knowledge of and talent for depicting the natural world are in full evidence in this immersive epic that combines themes of conservation and native mysticism. A powerful finale for the author and a fine tribute to her literary legacy."
Read some reviews and articles of and about Ice Whale:
- KIRKUS Review
- Publishers Weekly
- Another Publishers Weekly Review
- School Library Journal - interview
- The Christian Science Monitor
- Shelf Awarenes
Order Ice Whale now:
Galápagos GeorgeIllustrations by Wendell Minor
"This is the storyof the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species. George lived to be one hundred years old, and became a symbol for onservation and evolution. His story gives us a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the everfascinating Galápagos Islands."
Purchase Galápagos George:
The Buffalo are BackWith paintings by Wendell Minor.
When the first Settlers came, seventy-five million buffalo roamed the Great Plains. By 1900, they were almost gone.
As the buffalo fell, nature lost its balance. The tough green grass did not grow, the larks did not sing, and terrible storms began to blow. The prairie was in trouble, and the buffalo was the key to it all.
Today, the buffalo and their home have made an incredible comeback. How did it happen? This stirring picture book tells the story, from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, Theodore Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl, and finally, to the grasslands and nature preserves that now protect America's heartland–where herds of buffalo roam once more.
THE HORN BOOK
The Buffalo Are Back, the latest ecodrama from veteran nature writer Jean Craighead George, focuses on how the buffalo went from numerous, to near extinction, and, eventually, to recovery. George's book touches on a lot of topics (e.g., settler and Indian relationships, the Dust Bowl, President Theodore Roosevelt's preservation efforts, etc.), with the plight of buffalo remaining the backbone of her compelling narration. Wendell Minor's rich paintings evoke time and place with measured nostalgia. Back matter includes suggestions for "Places You Can Visit Where Buffalo Roam" as well as a bibliography.
Beginning and ending with the joyous birth of a calf, George describes the eradication of bison from the American plains, subsequent ecosystem damage, return of the species and restoration of the tall grass prairie in this companion to The Wolves Are Back (2008). … Minor's expressive and lushly detailed paintings have texture and depth, supporting and enhancing the text. Environmental good news. (sources, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-10)
Purchase The Buffalo Are Back at Amazon.com.
The Last Polar Bear
With paintings by Wendell Minor.
The world is warming, and the ice is melting. Tigluk must save the last polar bear. This tale highlights the importance of coexistence between humans and animals for survival on our warming planet. Acclaimed artist Wendell Minor's lush, realistic paintings bring to life the beauty and fragility of the Arctic and the lives of those people and animals who call it home. The Last Polar Bear reminds readers that awareness and conservation are causes to support, a message that parents and children alike will embrace.
Naturalist writer Jean Craighead George has crafted a moving contemporary tale that highlights the importance of coexistence between humans and animals for survival on our warming planet. Acclaimed artist Wendell Minor's lush, realistic paintings bring to life the beauty and fragility of the Arctic and the lives of those people and animals who call it home. The Last Polar Bear reminds readers that awareness and conservation are causes to support, a message that parents and children alike will embrace.
Sacramento Book Review:
The Last Polar Bear
By Jean Craighead George
HarperCollins • 37 pages
Global warming is a reality and, though it might be a heavy topic that most parents aren't quite ready to explain with children in the age range this book is intended for (4-7), as responsible adults, starting early could be the key to saving the planet. Educating our children at a young age that every action carries a much more long-term impact on our world than what is obvious in the moment. The Last Polar Bear tells the story of Tigluk, a young Eskimo boy, and his wise grandmother Aka, and the coming fate of the polar bear, as a result of the melting ice floes due to global warming. Beautifully illustrated with colorful, realistic paintings by Wendell Minor, The Last Polar Bear is a simple story with a powerful challenge. The future of such a majestic creature as the polar bear is precarious and their very survival depends on all of us. Readers young and old alike will love this sweet little book with a big message. All living things are connected, and we all need to be observant of our actions and deeds and be responsible. Our own future is at stake, not just that of the polar bear.
Author Jean Craighead George finds a gentle way to make it easier to start early in educating the youth of our planet to take responsibility and to do their part to insure the future of all creatures for generations to come, before it's too late.
Reviewed by Laura Friedkin
The adorable bears in the well-executed artwork may spark children's interest in the broader issues, while inducing "awww"s from young and old alike.
Purchase on Amazon.com
Pocket Guide to the Outdoors
Based on My Side of the Mountain, created with Twig C. George, Craig george and Luke George.
"Generations of readers have escaped into the woods with My Side of the Mountain, the story of a city boy named Sam who learns to live in the wild. Newbery winner Jean Craighead George offers an easy-to-follow guide for fans who want to live the adventure—just like Sam. Learn how to start a fire, build a shelter, catch a fish, identify useful plants, and much more. Hands-on activities are perfect for backyard campers or an afternoon stroll through the park. Illustrated with black-and-white drawings by the author and packed with activities, naturalist trivia, and practical wilderness tips, this entertaining and informative handbook is your guide to outdoor fun."*
Celebrate a classic wilderness story and live your own outdoor adventure with the My Side of the Mountin Pocket Guide to the Outdoors. This fun an easy-to-follow guide, from a legendary family of naturalists and writers, is packed with illustration, activities, and practical wilderness tips.
Includes how to:
- Build a Shelter
- Start a Fire
- Catch a Fish
- Find Water
- Tie Useful Knots
- Track Animals
- Navigate by the Stars
- Identify Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants
- And Much More
Jean's The Cats of Roxville StationThe Cats of Roxville Station ,with illustrations by Tom Pohrt.
The Cats of Roxville Station was selected by The New York Public Library for the prestigious "Childrens Books 2009 - 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing" list.
"In the fields by Roxville Station, where the wild house cats live, there is a hidden world. Alongside wildlife and humans who barely notice them, the cats of Roxville fight for territory, hunt, and are hunted..."
A special video interview of Jean available only on this website in 2009, marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the seminal Newberry Award honorable mention book, My Side of the Mountain. Jean looks back at the book which has touched so many lives. She reflects on the story's conception, and how the book took shape. She answers some of the questions you have always been curious about. This video was taped in December of 2008. How many lives are still touched and changed by this important work?
Note: The companion book to the 50th Anniversary Edition of "My Side of the Mountain" mentioned by Jean in the video above is called Pocket Guide to the Outdoors, and was realeased in 2009.
The Deluxe Edition CD version of One Day in the Woods was released.
'Today is a special day in the woods — the beautiful ovenbird is due to return from South America and Rebecca is determined to find and protect it from extinction. Follow her into the forest as she discovers a world where squirrels fly, deer vanish into thin air and reappear, and ducklings leap fifty feet down from holes in trees. Jean Craighead George’s beloved naturalist adventure has been enchantingly adapted for the musical stage by noted composer Chris Kubie. With vibrant performances by Alan Arkin, Patrick Collins, Barbara Dana, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and others. One Day in the Woods is a celebration of woodland life for all to enjoy.
Jean Craighead George’s book, Julie of the Wolves won the prestigious Newbery Medal, the American Library Association's award for the most distinguished contribution to literature Jean and Chrisfor children in 1973. My Side of the Mountain, (the story of a boy and a falcon surviving on a mountain together) was a 1960 Newbery Honor Book. She is counted amongst the world’s most lauded authors of books for children and young adults.
Chris Kubie has composed for award-winning films and television specials including “Bobby Kennedy: In His Own Words” for HBO”, “The Peoples Palace: Secrets of the New York Public Library” for PBS, “Radio City Music Hall: The Story Behind the Showcase” for A&E, several television series for The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, as well as hundreds of children’s audio books and videos. '
March, 2008: Goose and Duck
Jean's book for young readers. Here's the blurb from the inside book cover:
Whatever I did, Goose did. Whatever Goose did, Duck did. When I sat down, Goose sat down. Duck sat down too.
What's a little boy to do when a goose and a duck think that he's their mother? Especially when they follow him around, doing everything he does!
Newbery Medal winner Jean Craighead George's comic story and Priscilla Lamont's lively art make for a silly tale about boys, geese, ducks, and the rhythms of nature.
Jean's new book, The Wolves Are Back, published by Dutton Children's Books, is a book about the good that wolves do. Everyone can tell "the wolves are back" by looking at Lamar Valley, Yellowstone. The grass has grown. (Grass-eating elk run to the hills away from the wolves). The trees are growing and holding back the erosion along the river. (They are not trampled by buffalo). The birds are back in the meadow. (The grass-and-tree-eaters are in the hills).
When the trees come back so do the beaver, and because the beaver makes ponds, the moose are back, as well as frogs and ducks. Through a wolf pup's adventures the return to the balance of the nature is seen because "the wolves are back."
Wendell Minor, illustrator, and Jean Craighead George, author, have returned Yellowstone for many sequential years to see life come back to Lamar Valley. Minor's watercolors of the wolves and valley are extraordinary.
Jean's book, Luck, The Story of a Sandhill Crane,
was released in March of 2006 and published by HarperCollins. Luck is an appealing character that memorizes man-made objects, not the landscape, as he flies north. Wendell Minor, the award winning artist, has out-done himself with this book. His art is both beautiful and poignant. A source of his inspiration was a trip to the Platte River in Nebraska with Jean and her family to see 500,000 sandhill cranes come down to eat and rest.
In 2005 My Side of the Mountain was selected by the New York Librarians as the 2005 book to represent the state at the National Book Festival, sponsored by Laura Bush and the Library of Congress.
Storyteller, a DVD about Jean...
If you've ever wondered how best-selling children's author Jean Craighead George Storyteller works and lives, then join her in this entertaining and educational documentary to find out. You'll see inside her home, look over her shoulder as she writes, listen in as she answers fan mail, and meet her talkative parrot named Tocca. Jean’s nephew, author and filmmaker, Charlie Craighead, wrote, photographed and directed the Storyteller film.
Then go on the road with Jean to the locations of My Side of the Mountain and The Summer of the Falcon to hear how those stories began. Follow her to Yellowstone Park and to the Platte River as she writes the books set in these fascinating places.
Each chapter of this delightful film is punctuated with Jean's comments and insights into how she thinks and works. This documentary was beautifully shot in some of Jean's favorite places, with original music by Chris Kubie.
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