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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Kjelgaard, Jim

Jim Kjelgaard Big Red
Forest Patrol Lion Hound

Jim Kjelgaard, one of the best-known writers of books in the United States, was born James Arthur Kjelgaard in New York City on December 10th, 1910. He grew up on a farm in Potter County, New York. Jim began to demonstrate an interest in writing at a young age and built a desk out of a box and sat in his room pecking out poems and stories on an ancient typewriter. He also loved dogs and often brought home strays, something that was revealed later in his work.

He began sending out adventure stories to hunting and fishing magazines while still in high school. His first book was Forest Patrol, published by Holiday House in 1941, and told of the experiences he had while encamped with his forest ranger brother. He didn’t become a full-time writer until after World War II. His third book, Big Red, made him famous. By 1956, it had sold a total of 225,000 copies and had been translated into several languages.

Jim met his wife when she wrote to him as a fan and member of a Milwaukee writer’s group.

He died on July 12, 1959.

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