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 Picture Books Author of the Month
Aliki
(a.k.a. Aliki Liacouras Brandenberg)

Aliki
3 September 1929 -- ???

Biography
Aliki Liacouras Brandenberg was born in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey on September 3, 1929 to James Peter and Stella (Lagakos) Liacouras. Aliki was born when her family was on vacation. She grew up and attended school in Philadelphia and the suburb of Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

Aliki had always been fond of drawing. She drew constantly, attended Saturday classes in art, studied piano, and became aware of music. As a result of her interest, her family was not surprised when she decided to attend the Philadelphia Museum College of Art when she completed high school. She graduated from the school in 1951.

Upon graduation, Aliki found a job with the display department of J.C. Penney Co. in New York. She stayed with this position for a year before returning to Philadelphia to work as a freelance artist in advertising display, mural painter, and a creator of her her own greeting card line. She also taught children's art classes and adult ceramics classes at this time.

In 1956, Aliki spent six months traveling, painting, and sketching in Europe. She was particularly interested in spending time in Italy and Greece. Both of her parents were born in Greece and, as a result, Greek was their first language. She greatly enjoyed discovering her family's heritage as she visited the area.

Aliki's travels had done more than just introduce her to her ethnic background. While she was in Florence, Italy, she met Franz Brandenberg, whom she would later marry. They were married on March 15, 1957 in Berne and settled in Switzerland. While living in Switzerland, she found work as a freelance artist for several Swiss firms.

The Brandenbergs had three children: Jason, Alexa, and Demetria.

Aliki took an opportunity while in Switzerland to visit the territory where William Tell had lived. As a result, the legend of William Tell sparked a great deal of interest for the artist. She used it as the basis for her first book, The Story of William Tell, which was published in 1957.

The Brandenbergs moved to New York City in 1960. At this time, Aliki began illustrating her books. Her interest in William Penn led to another biography at this time, which she entitled The Story of William Penn.

Aliki continued to write and illustrate children's books, both fiction and non-fiction. "Nonfiction needs fascination with a subject, ... an overabundance of reseach, and time to assimilate. The pleasure of these books ... is writing complicated facts as clearly and simply as possible, so readers ... who know nothing about a subject learn a great deal by the time we are finished." [3]

"In the case of biographies, I have to know and love my subject. I find it challenging to find out as much as I can about a person, allowing him to become a part of my life, and then writing in simplest terms the essence of his personality for young children." [3]

"'Fiction' is true. It is a lifetime of experiences, often my children's. I write these books quickly. A word can trigger a story that has been somewhere in my mind for years. It passes from the unconscious to the conscious and then it is released by a blank sheet of paper and pen. I cannot think up an entire story in my head. Writng the words on paper unravels the story." [3]

Aliki has illustrated over 50 books for a number of other children's authors. These authors include Joanna Cole and her husband Franz Brandenberg. In fact, she has illustrated all of her husband's books.

Aliki and her family moved to England in 1977. She still lives there today, where she continues to write and illustrate children's books.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Children's Authors and Illustrators: ALIKII; http://www.mcet.edu/aliki/bio.html.
2) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #2; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1971.
3) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #35; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1984.
4) USM de Grummond Collection - Aliki Brandenberg Papers;http://avatar.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/findaids/brandenb.htm.

Titles
E-Aliki Best Friends Together Again (1995) -- When Robert's best friend Peter, who moved away, come back to visit, various emotions surface, but mostly pleasure, which all friends share.

E-Aliki Christmas Tree Memories (1991) -- Family members admire the ornaments on their Christmas tree and share memories of previous holidays as evoked by the ornaments.

E-Aliki Feelings (1984) -- Pictures, dialogs, poems, and stories portray various emotions we all feel, such as jealousy, sadness, fear, anger, joy, and love.

E-Aliki Fossils Tell of Long Ago (1972) -- Explains how fossils are formed and what they tell us about the past.

E-Aliki Manners (1990) -- Discusses manners and gives examples of good and bad manners.

E-Aliki A Medieval Feast (1983) -- Describes the preparation and celebration of a medieval feast held at an English manor house entertaining royal guests.

E-Aliki My Feet (1990) -- Brief text and illustrations describe the various parts of the foot and all things feet help us to do.

E-Aliki The Story of Johnny Appleseed (1963) -- Retells the story of John Chapman, whose devotion to planting apple trees made him a legendary figure in American history.

Non-Fiction Titles
J-393.3-ALI Mummies Made in Egypt (1979) -- Describes the techniques and the reasons for the use of mummification in ancient Egypt.

J-394.2-ALI New Year's Day (1967) -- Presents how the New Year was welcomed years ago and the many colorful ways it is celebrated today from Denmark to Madagascar.

J-567.9-ALI Digging Up Dinosaurs (1981) -- Briefly introduces various dinosaurs whose skeletons and reconstructions are seen in museums and explains how scientists uncover, preserve, and study fossilized dinosaur bones.

J-567.9-ALI My Visit to the Dinosaurs (1985) -- A visit to a museum of natural history provides a little boy with an introduction to the habits, characteristics, and habitats of fourteen different kinds of dinosaurs.

J-567.91-ALI Dinosaur Bones (1988) -- Discusses how scientists study fossil remains to provide information about how dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.

J-567.91-ALI Dinosaurs are Different (1985) -- Explains how the various orders and suborders of dinosaurs were similar and different in structure and appearance.

J-633.5-ALI Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians (1976) -- A simple description of how corn was discovered and used by the Indians and how it came to be an important food throughout the world.

J-686-ALI How a Book is Made (1986) -- With easy-to-read text and colorful pictures, Aliki takes her readers step-by-step through the process of writing, illustrating, and constructing a book.

J-792-ALI William Shakespeare and the Globe (1999) -- With a combination of literature, history, biography, archaeology, and architecture readers are introduced to the world of William Shakespeare.

J-92-Franklin The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin (1977) -- A simple biography of Benjamin Franklin emphasizing his contributions to American literature, politics, and science.

Titles Illustrated by Aliki
E-Brandenberg I Wish I Was Sick, Too! by Franz Brandenberg (1976) -- Elizabeth envies her brother the pampered treatment he gets when he is sick in bed. Then, she gets sick, too.

E-BRA/E-P-BRA Nice New Neighbors by Franz Brandenberg (1977) -- The field mouse children find a way to make new friends when they move to a new house.

E-Brandedenberg No School Today! by Franz Brandenberg (1975) -- Two cats get to school so early that they think that there is "No School Today!"

E-Brandenberg A Robber, A Robber! by Franz Brandenberg (1976) -- Positive they heard burglars during the night, a brother and a sister cat wonder what they could have taken since nothing is missing.

E-BRA A Secret for Grandmother's Birthday by Franz Brandenberg(1975) -- A brother and a sister cat plan the secret gifts they will give grandmother cat for her birthday.

E-WRI I Want to Read by Betty Ren Wright (1970) -- Two children share a list of all the things they know and can do now that they can read.

Websites
Children's Authors and Illustrators: ALIKI (http://www.mcet.edu/aliki/bio.html) -- A brief biography of Aliki can be found at this site as well as a number of links to related activities, games, and a list of works.

USM de Grummond Collection - Aliki Brandenberg Papers (http://avatar.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/findaids/brandenb.htm) -- While this site highlights Aliki-related materials held at the libriaries of the University of Southern Mississippi, it does provide a nice short biography as well as an overview of the works held by the libraries. 

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