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5 Childless Children's Book Authors

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Many of the most beloved children's authors didn't bother to have kids of their own.

Purists who think country songs shouldn't be sung by people who grew up in the 'burbs and truly authentic French food isn't if it's cooked up by some Jersey boy named Vinny might be saddened to discover that many beloved children's books were written by childless authors. Shockingly, some kiddy scribes aren't even that fond of kids.

1) Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss): Twice married, the quintessential children's author of The Cat in the Hat had no children of his own. Despite his whimsical pen name, Geisel was known to be a publicity-shy curmudgeon whose books were often allegories for not so child-friendly topics as genetic cleansing (The Sneetches) and the arms race (The Butter Battle Book).
2) Margaret Wise Brown: The author of Goodnight Moon must've known something about the way kids operate, because the sleep-inducing book is like taking a dose of Ambien. Brown, however, was not only childless; she also claimed to dislike children. A fellow illustrator once commented, "she only liked children in theory."
3) Beatrix Potter: Raised by a governess who kept her isolated from other children and refused to let her play with dolls, the author of Peter Rabbit and 23 other children's books had a difficult childhood. Later in life, she had difficultly interacting with children, preferring the company of her many pets, which included, not surprisingly, a few rabbits.
4) Louisa May Alcott: Alcott, the author of Little Women, had no little women or little men of her own. During her lifetime, she was an abolitionist, a feminist and quite possibly a lesbian. During an interview, she was once asked why she remained a "spinster. "Because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man," the childless author said.
5) Maurice Sendak: The freaky nightmarish fantasy Where the Wild Things Are was conceived by a man who has no children of his own. Although he entertained the idea, he is quoted as saying "to fail as a parent is to fail on the highest level."


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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
TaliaM July 31, 2008, 7:45 PM

I also understand Raffi of all people doesn’t have kids. I guess if you don’t have kids and you’re in the kid entertaining business you won’t have to bring your work home with you.

Isabel July 31, 2008, 8:30 PM

I always thought “Jo” from Little Women was Alcott’s alter ego! ;)

petra August 10, 2008, 10:50 PM

Roald Dahl wrote many childrens stories but he disliked children immmensely.

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