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Rose O’Neill: The Girl Who Loved to Draw

  • November 21, 2009 6:40 am
Rose O'Neill

Click on image to buy book

I had never heard of Rose O’Neill before picking up this book, although I was familiar with “kewpies,” her most famous creation.

Rose O’Neill was a commercial illustrator and comic artist in the early 1900s, at a time when most commercial illustrators were men.

This children’s biography of Rose O’Neill concentrates on her childhood. Her father was a bookseller who had difficulty supporting his growing family, so Rose and her siblings moved often and lived in small, cramped homes in Nebraska and Missouri. However, the family was happy together. Rose never had formal art lessons: she taught herself to draw by copying illustrations from the stacks of books always around the house. 

When she was 13, one of her drawings won a prize from an Omaha newspaper. At the age of 19, she went to New York City to begin her career as a freelance illustrator for magazines and books. In 1909, when she was 35, she created the first kewpie character for Ladies Home Journal. This character proved so popular that Rose wrote and illustrated weekly kewpie stories and cartoons, and oversaw the manufacture of a kewpie doll.

Rose’s wealth allowed her to support her parents and siblings. Rose worked for the right of women to vote, and she mentored young artists.

This 68-page biography is in an oversized 10″ x 12″ format. It is lavishly illustrated with over 100 drawings and photographs. The author, Linda Brewster, skillfully pairs Rose’s adult drawings with the childhood events that may have inspired them. The book is based on Rose’s unpublished memoirs, so the writing comes alive with dialogue and Rose’s memories.

You can buy this book from my girls list.

New Moon Girls magazine

  • November 7, 2009 9:02 am

New Moon magazineI just received an e-mail from a founder of New Moon Girls, which, since the early 1990s, has published a wonderful, girl-edited, advertising-free  magazine for girls ages 8-14. The magazine is now in financial trouble and may close at the end of this year.

I would like to invite my visitors to contribute or subscribe to New Moon Girls magazine and help keep its doors open.

Unlike most magazines for girls, this one has no diet advice, no fashion features, and no advertising.  It’s a  full-color, fun magazine edited by a group of girls in Duluth, Minnesota, with the help of an adult staff. The most recent issue features: an article about an Iraqi girl who, at the age of 17, started that country’s first National Youth Orchestra; world records set by women; hidden pictures; an interview with author Madeleine L’Engle; a science project about cloning; an advice column with questions and answers from girls; and opinions, art, and fiction by girls.

Please check out New Moon Girls and, if you can, sign up for a subscription or make a donation.