Valerie Worth (1933-1994)
Acclaimed poet Valerie Worth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Swarthmore, where her father taught biology at Swarthmore College. The family then moved to Tampa, Florida, and Bangalore, India, where they lived for one year. Valerie returned to Swarthmore to attend college, graduating with an English degree and High Honors. Shortly thereafter she married George Bahlke, a fellow Swarthmore graduate. After settling in Clinton, NY, Valerie met Natalie Babbitt at Kirkland College, and Natalie began to illustrate Valerie's work, starting with Small Poems in 1972. Three more volumes followed: More Small Poems (1976); Still More Small Poems (1978); and Small Poems Again (1986). All four volumes were issued in a single paperback, All the Small Poems (1987), and seven years later, All the Small Poems and Fourteen More was released and was then followed by a paperback edition in 1996. In 2002, FSG posthumously published Peacock and Other Poems by Valerie Worth, with pictures by Natalie Babbitt, a collection of 27 poems which Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said "heralds the joy of words." School Library Journal, in a starred review, declared that "[Valerie Worth's] work gives children something to admire and aim for."
Valerie Worth was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 1991 with its Poetry Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, which acknowledges a body of work.
A gifted artist and writer, Natalie Babbitt is the award-winning author of the modern classic Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Kneeknock Rise and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Kneeknock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor Medal, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a grandmother of three.