Verna Aardema Vugteveen was born June 6, 1911 in New Era, Michigan.
She earned a BA in Journalism (1934) from Michigan State College of Agriculture
and Applied Science (now Michigan State University) and worked as a grade
school teacher in Michigan and later as a staff correspondent for the
Muskegon Chronicle . In 1960 she published her
first book Tales from the Story Hat , a retelling
of some African folktales. Aardema became well known for her adaptions of
traditional folktales, primarily from Africa and Mexico. Her books are cited by
critics for their authenticity and detail and Aardema's ability to combine
humor, magic, and adventure with moral themes. Critics also praise her use of
simple, rhythmic language and repetitive sounds; two qualities that make her
books read-aloud favorites with children.
Many of Aardema's books have been award winners, including the 1978
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for
Who's in Rabbit's House (1977);
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
(1975) was a New York Times Notable Book and won
the Caldecott Medal in 1976;
Oh Kojo! How Could You! (1984) won the
Parents' Choice Award for Literature.
Verna Aardema died on May 11, 2000.
Something About the Author, vol. 68, pp.