Obit of the Day: Author of Julie of the Wolves
Jean Craighead George knew that you could communicate with wolves through hand signals and sounds like her protagonist “Julie” in her Newbery Award-winning novel. She knew, because she had gone to Alaska herself and tried it. The author, who passed away at the age of 92, was known for traveling far and wide to ensure the authenticity of her books.
During her career Ms. George would write over 100 books, mainly children’s fiction, but also non-fiction and a memoir, The Tarantula in My Purse. Julie of the Wolves, which tells the story of an Inuit girl who escapes an arranged marriage to live among the wolves, earned Ms. George the 1973 Newbery Award. Showing for fondness for children on her own, her other best known young adult novel, My Side of the Mountain(1959), focused on a young boy who ran away from his family to live in the Catskill Mountains.
Ms. George also loved animals. Her father was an entomologist with the the U.S. Forest Service who often took her, and her brothers, on trips into the field. That led to some interesting pets around the house including her first - a turkey vulture.
As an adult, the George household featured up to 173 animals around the home including a crow, an owl, and beaver. The latter did not hang around the house long, because he ate the furniture.
Ms. George, who also wrote for the Washington Post and was a member of the White House Press corps in the 1940s, passed away on May 15, 2012.
(Image of the first edition of Julie of the Wolves, 1972, is courtesy of wikimedia.org)