Do you know a budding artist? Why not wrap up a copy of Millions of Cats and Wanda Gag; the Girl Who Lived to Draw by Deborah Kogan Ray?
In this book, readers are treated to the words from Wanda Gag’s diaries, letters, and papers. Deborah Kogan Ray has written a biography which will introduce those readers not familiar with the creator of Millions of Cats (A favorite book for me).
The combination of quotes from Gag and information about the her give readers a sense of a time long gone. Wanda Gag was born in 1893 in New Ulm, Minnesota. Her family loved the arts and encouraged all seven children to either draw, write, sing and/or dance.
Wanda received much of her encouragement from her father, an artist. “Always look at the world in your own way, Wandachen.,” were words frequently used by her father.
As much as her childhood was immersed in fairy and folk tales from the old world, her own life mirrored a fairy tale itself. Her father died when Wanda was only 15. Through perseverance and dedication, She set out to make good on her father’s dying words, “What Papa couldn’t do, Wand will have to finish.”
Finish she did through scholarship, art school,working in the fashion industry, and helping her family make ends meet. In 1929, her book Millions of Cats was awarded the John Newbery Honor by the American Library Association.
Deborah Kogan Ray provides readers with a wonderful companion piece to Millions of Cats. We also learn a bit about the world of fine art that was also Gag’s world. Her illustrations are compliment the text with wonderful vibrancy and detail. They are the kind of that readers will spend time looking at before turning the page. The book can be used at many levels: as a biography, an inspiration story and a story of persevere through life’s challenges.
The book concludes with an author’s note and bibliography.
Title: Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw
Author: Deborah Kogan Ray
Date Published: 2008
Publisher: Viking Press
Source of Book: Publisher sent for CYBILS consideration.
As always a list of great nonfiction blog posts can be found here.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas. Happy Reading.