Charlotte Zolotow


Charlotte Zolotow

Following up with children’s books, today’s author is Charlotte Zolotow, who not only wrote over 70 books but edited hundreds of others. A few 0f her books are listed below.

Charlotte Zolotow (born Charlotte Gertrude Shapiro June 26, 1915 in Norfolk, Virginia) is an American author, poet, editor, and publisher of many books for children.  She always wanted to be a writer, for as long, she says, as she can remember. Sshe says, “I loved the idea of not only expressing myself in words but, because I was very shy in conversation, reaching other people through my writing.”

She also never forgot what it was like to feel like an outsider, to be lonely, and perhaps most of all, to not be told the truth about what was happening in your family and your life. Remembering the child’s point of view Perhaps this early shyness is part of what has made her a lifelong champion of honest, non-sugar-coated literature for young readers.

“Children have the same emotions as adults, ” she says, “though they experience them more intensely, since they haven’t yet learned the protective camouflage with which we adults disguise our feelings.”

Charlotte Zolotow as a young child

Charlotte Zolotow as a young child

Charlotte’s career would be founded on articulating her sense of what the experience of childhood was like, from the child’s point of view. “I remember actually thinking, when I was a child, that I would remember things that had happened, things that seemed important to me but seemed to go unnoticed by the adults around.”

She began writing early, winning a silver pencil as a prize for her writing in the third grade, and being further encouraged for her ability by “A wonderful teacher, Mrs. Danforth.” And she also became a voracious reader.

She has been published by more than 20 different houses (many of which she has outlasted). She was an editor, and later publisher, at Harper & Row, which was called Harper & Brothers when she began to work there and is now known as HarperCollins. Among the many writers she edited are Paul Fleischman, Paul Zindel, Mary Rodgers, Robert Lipsyte, and Francesca Lia Block. She is the mother of the writer Crescent Dragonwagon and poker tournament champion Stephen Zolotow. She was married to Maurice Zolotow from 1938 until their divorce in 1969. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

A Tiger Called Thomas
When shy Thomas moves into a new house on a new street, he takes it into his head that the new people might not like him. But when Halloween rolls around and Thomas sets out in a tiger-rific costume, he realizes the real trick to enjoying the treat of new friends is to just be himself. This tender story from veteran children’s author Charlotte Zolotow explores the trials of being the new kid on the block, and the triumphs of showing your true stripes and finding a place among friends.

If You Listen

This loving tale about loss from two-time Caldecott Honor winner Charlotte Zolotow is a gentle, reassuring approach to a subject that’s always challenging for parents to discuss with children. In it, a mother comforts her daughter about the absence of the child’s father by explaining that if she listens hard, she’ll feel him far away sending love to her. Our new edition of this timeless story is accompanied by stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Stefano Vitale.

The Seashore Book
“A young boy, who has never seen the sea, asks his mother to describe it. From there, Zolotow carefully chooses her words to create a poem full of the colors, sounds, and sights of a day at the beach. Minor’s softly detailed renderings reinforce the gentle mood.” ‘SLJ. “[Zolotow’s] words have a special lilt that lingers long after the book is closed.”
‘NYT.Notable 1992 Children’s Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children 1992 (NSTA/CBC)
A Reading Rainbow Selection

Over and Over
‘The year’s seasonal changes and festivities that are important in a little child’s life are imaginatively [described]. . . . The story ends with the happy realization that it will all come round ‘over and over’ again.’ —H.

Zolotow’s lifelong determination to remember what childhood was like from the inside was sharpened as she studied the writing of Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget, exploring Piaget’s developmental theories, especially his ideas about how the meaning and use of words may be utterly different and distinct for children and adults.

A list of more of her books can be found on her website:

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