The Tale of Peter Rabbit may be one of the first books you read with your child. Beatrix Potter was born in the South Kensington District of London at Number 2 Bolton Gardens. Beatrix’s family had a large home with servants and she was cared for and raised by a nurse. The only time she saw her parents was at bedtime and on special occasions.
Beatrix had a younger brother, Bertram, born when she was six. Bertram was her playmate. They were educated at home by a governess until Bertram went away to school. While he was at school, Beatrix spent many hours alone.
She became fascinated by nature and began studying and drawing animals. She painted pictures of plants and animals, and loved to go to the Natural History Museum.
Years later, when she was 27, Beatrix wrote a picture letter to Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of her ex-governess. Young Noel was sick and confined to bed. She wrote, "My dear Noel, I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits…"
Learning about an author can instill a sense of wonder for what they wrote. Apply their achievements to your child's interests. After learning about Beatrix Potter, perhaps your child could make a picture book.
Little Women is loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s childhood with her three sisters. Have your child try writing a story about their family.
Did you know that A.A. Milne attended a small public school run by his father and one of his teachers was H.G. Wells? And the A.A.? Alan Alexander. What other authors use initials instead of their first names? (J.M. Barrie—author of Peter Pan, L.M. Boston—author of The Children of Green Knowe, C.S. Lewis—author of The Chronicles of Narnia, and others.)
L. Frank Baum did not like his first name, Lyman. He grew up on his family’s estate: Rose Lawn. When Frank began writing, his father bought him a printing press. He and his brother published The Rose Lawn Home Journal. Help your children write a family newsletter. Include recipes, favorite activities, and tell about a happening such as a vacation. Send it to grandparents.
Samuel Clemons published under a penname: Mark Twain. He worked as a licensed Mississippi river-boat pilot. His penname came from the call ‘Mark twain!’ – meaning by the mark of two fathoms and used when sounding river shallows. Let your child imagine a pen name that reflects something from his life.
Lucy Maud Montgomery drew upon her own childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island when she wrote Anne of Green Gables. Have your child write a story about a child that lives in their town–but is not them.
Enjoy getting to know the authors. Next to the picture of the author in their notebook, have your child record a short synopsis about the author’s life.