Freitag, 26. Juli 2019

ARMSTRONG SPERRY: Author and illustrator of Adventure Books, 1st Part

Armstrong W. Sperry was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 7, 1897, to Sereno Sperry, a business executive, and his wife, Nettie (Alling) Sperry. As a child he acquired an interest in sea stories from reading Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jack London, but also from listening to the recollections of his great-grandfather, who had been a mariner in the South Seas. Sperry served in the navy during World War I and studied art at the Yale School of Fine Arts, the Art Students League in New York City, and the Academie Colarossis in Paris. He worked as an advertising illustrator in the early 1920s.
Sperry traveled to Bora Bora, northwest of Tahiti, in 1925 and spent two years learning and admiring the language, culture, and resilient character of the islanders. On his return to New York, Sperry expressed his observations of Bora Bora by writing and illustrating One Day with Manu (1933), one of the first books to portray a foreign culture for American children. He followed the work with similar books describing other indigenous peoples. After many adventures he moved with his family to Hanover, New Hampshire, where he lived until his death in 1976.

Sperry in Honolulu, Hawaii, just before leaving for his trip in the South Seas, 1925.

He won the 1941 Newbery Medal for Call It Couragea novel about a young boy on the island of Hikueru in Polynesia, and wrote or illustrated dozens of other books for young people.

...to be continued in our next blog.