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Meindert De Jong
Meindert DeJong.jpg
Born (1906-03-04)March 4, 1906
Wierum, Friesland, Netherlands
Died July 16, 1991(1991-07-16) (aged 85)
Michigan, US
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1938 - 1986
Genre Children's literature

Meindert De Jong, sometimes spelled de Jong, DeJong or Dejong (4 March 1906 – 16 July 1991) was a Dutch-born American writer of children's books. He won the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1962 for his contributions as a children's writer.

Life

De Jong was born in the village of Wierum in the province of Friesland, Netherlands. (The correct Dutch and Frisian spelling of his surname is 'de Jong' when preceded by his first name or initials, and 'De Jong' when not.) The family emigrated to the United States in 1914. De Jong attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and entered the University of Chicago, but left without graduating.

De Jong held various jobs during the Great Depression and began writing children's books at the suggestion of a local librarian. His first book, The Big Goose and the Little White Duck, was published in 1938. He wrote several more books before joining the US Army Air Corps during World War II, serving in China.

After the war, De Jong resumed writing, and for several years resided in Mexico. He returned for a time to Michigan. After settling in North Carolina, he returned to Michigan for the final years of his life.

Six of De Jong's books were illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Awards

In 1962 De Jong won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for his lasting contribution to literature for young people. He was the first American recipient of the honor, the highest international recognition for a creator of children's books (later, for a writer or illustrator).

He was also recognized many times for particular works.

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