Jean Craighead George (1919-2012)

  • Jean Craighead George was an American author of more than 100 books penned over a span of 65 years. Written for children and young adults, her books inspired countless individuals to appreciate nature and engage in conservation. Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in a family of American naturalists, her childhood was spent roaming the banks of the Potomac River. Her deep respect and passion for the natural world, which she shared with her readers, was cultivated by her many outdoor adventures and a life-long study of nature. George’s prolific writings were inspired by her interactions with nature, including visiting the Arctic Research Laboratory in Barrow, Alaska to learn about wolf ecology. In addition, she cared for more than one hundred and seventy-three mostly-wild “pets” throughout her life; many of which became characters in her books. Her poetic prose and use of vivid details brought to life various North American ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to frozen tundra. Throughout her career, George was awarded numerous awards for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for her book Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor for her book My Side of the Mountain. Her lifetime accomplishments were honored at the age of 90 when she was the recipient of the prestigious Science Books and Films Prize Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jean Craighead George was a passionate naturalist, distinguished writer, and celebrated artist whose greatest gift was her ability to connect young readers with nature.

    “Within each person, I believe, there is an ancient twist of DNA that reacts to the beauty of the land and sky, and brings back with a rush our original love affair with nature.”