Allison's Book Bag

Author of the Irrepressible Katie John

Posted on: December 29, 2014

Throughout the month of December, I have been writing about favorite books. Many of them are ones my dad introduced to me. Some like the Katie John books by Mary Calhoun I stumbled upon while browsing his classroom bookshelves and took it upon myself to discover. Tomorrow I’ll review the first book in the series. Save the date: December 30!

MaryCalhounA prolific author, Calhoun has been writing children’s books since 1957. She was born in Keokuk and decided at the age of seven to be an author. Calhoun says in a letter to Lisayee that her mother was a great storyteller and she feels honored to carry on the tradition. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the State University of Iowa in 1948, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Omaha, Nebraska and Gresham, Oregon.

As with many authors, Calhoun eventually began to write down stories which she told to her sons. This led to her writing ones for publication, both for magazines and in the form of books. Her first children’s book, Making the Mississippi Shout, was published in 1957 and reflected her lifelong love of the river near which she was raised. She is most known for her Katie John books which developed from happy childhood memories of her great-grandfather’s big brick house on a bluff above the Mississippi River.

In the aforementioned letter to Lisayee, Calhoun says that she has taught Sunday School and presided at library story hours. She also likes to play the violin, hike in the mountains, and of course tell stories. Calhoun now lives in Colorado.

Unfortunately, the above information is the most I could find about Calhoun. As an added bonus, you can read details and see photos of Lisayee’s visit with Calhoun in Meeting a Childhood Idol.


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I am focusing this year on other commitments. Once a month, I’ll post reviews of Advanced Reader Copies. Titles will include: Freddy Frogcaster and the Flash Flood by Janice Dean, One Two by Igor Eliseev, Incredible Magic of Being by Kathyrn Erskine, Dragon Grammar Book by Diane Robinson, and Wide as the Wind by Edward Stanton.



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