Northwest Center for Children’s Literature



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For nearly a century, children have been enchanted by the picture books of Berta and Elmer Hader without knowing anything about the fascinating lives of this Caldecott Award winning authorillustrator couple (The Big Snow, 1949). Elmer fought the fires that erupted in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and earned enough money as a vaudeville actor to study impressionist art in France. Berta was a Mexico-born fashion illustrator who met Elmer in San Francisco while living on Telegraph Hill. After marrying and moving to Nyack, New York, they hosted parties with journalists, artists, and Broadway’s elite, EVERY weekend in the home they designed and built with their own hands (and the hands of their many friends). Years later they rallied their neighbors and forced a change to the construction path of the Tappan Zee Bridge that saved their little community. A unique and interesting story unfolds as author Sybilla Cook takes you on a journey with the Haders – through two World Wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and vast changes which occurred in the first half of the twentieth century to the education system and the children’s book publishing industry. The Haders’ lives and their work are quintessential and timeless examples of how the power of children’s art and literature affects the world for good.



Publication Date



Concordia University Publishing




Arts and Humanities

Drawn Together ... in Art ... in Love ... in Friendships: The Biography of Caldecott Award-Winning Authors Berta and Elmer Hader