Children’s author and illustrator Lois Lenski was born in Springfield, Ohio, moved to Anna, Ohio, at age five, and later attended high school in Sidney, Ohio. She received her first art classes at Ohio State and went on to study in New York and London. Lois illustrated other authors’ stories before writing and illustrating her own. Her first two books, Skipping Village and A Little Girl of 1900, were based on her childhood in Anna. Perhaps because of this happy childhood and her undying love for children, Lois went on to write and illustrate over 90 children’s books, winning several awards.
Believing that books for children were under a greater obligation than to merely entertain, Lenski wrote that they “should illumine the whole adventure of living.” Many of her books focus in on daily life for children in carefully researched historical time periods or regions of the country she experienced first-hand. Lois met and wrote about children in poor, rural communities underrepresented in children’s literature in a realistic, unsentimental way. She said, “Life is full of amazing drama if we have the awareness to see and understand it.”