July 2, 1919
My Side of the Mountain
Jean Craighead George, a naturalist and natural history writer, writes books about animals. She also writes books about young people surviving in the wilderness, such as Julie of the Wolves, which won a Newbery Medal in 1976.
“Though diverse in setting, characterization, and plot, her books have many themes in common,” Mary J. Lickteig noted. “Her characters observe the mysteries of nature and seek answers that help them understand these mysteries. As they seek answers, they reflect on the secrets that nature holds.”
George's family had a great love for the outdoors. Her ancestors settled in southern Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s in an area that became known as Craigheads. Her father studied forestry and entomology. As youths, she and her brothers, who were twins, spent summers on the ancestral land, where they caught fish and frogs, swam in ponds, played softball, and rode on farm wagons.
The author received a degree from Pennsylvania State University. She also attended Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and the University of Michigan. She married John Lothar George in 1944; they later divorced. They have four children.
She worked as a reporter for International News Service and later for The Washington Post and Times-Herald in Washington, D.C. She was an artist for Pageant magazine, an artist and reporter for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, and a teacher in Chappaqua,