In honor of the late children's author and illustrator who created memorable characters that have taught us great life lessons.
Several years ago when the first Shrek movie was released I had many patrons ask, "I hear it's based on a book. Do have any other books by the same author." I would happily lead them to the shelves featuring books by William Steig.
Among the many books would be the familiar green ogre Shrek looking out from the cover the book. Along side were stories about Sylvester, Farmer Palmer, Irene, and many other characters on amazing adventures.
Steig was born in New York in 1907. His family was involved with the arts and encouraged Steig's desire to be an artist. He attended the National Academy of Design.
Soon Steig's work began appearing in prestigious publications, such as The New Yorker. He lent his illustrative talents to others' stories. His first children's book didn't appear until almost four decades later in 1968. His first book, Roland the Minstrel Pig began an amazing adventure in publishing.
Steig always felt that children need friendship, security, and devoted families. In the unlikely friendship of Amos & Boris, a whale and a mouse are tried and tested. They finish their adventures with a stronger bond. Part of Steig's gift was that his books don't preach at children. There is humor and joy throughout the stories.
William Steig was honored several times for his works. In 1970 the Caldecott Medal was awarded to Steig for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. His other children's books include The Amazing Bone (a Caldecott Honor book), Abell's Island and Doctor de Soto (both Newbery Honor books), Dominic (Christopher Award, Prix de la Foundation de France, and William Allen White Children's Book Award), and many, many other awards.
While William Steig passed on in 2003, his books will never be out of date or style. Children and adults will always need books that are sharp, funny, and full of love.
For more information about William Steig, visit William Steig.com.