Called the “King of Cartoons” by Newsweek magazine, William Steig was born on November 14, 1907. He carved out dual careers as both a highly-respected and entertaining cartoonist and an award-winning, bestselling author of children’s books and novels.
Steig was born into an artistic family in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in the Bronx, creating cartoons for his high school newspaper. He was an excellent athlete and a member of the All-American Water Polo Team. He spent two years at City College and three years at the National Academy.
Steig began illustrating for The New Yorker in 1930. When his father lost his job during the Depression, Steig was able to support his family with his cartoons. In 1968, at age 61, when most would consider retiring, he launched a career in children’s books. By his third title, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, he had won a Caldecott Medal. Abel’s Island and Dr. DeSoto were awarded Newbery Honors.
Much of America knows him as the author of Shrek, made into a feature movie, but check out his other polished gems at your local library. American classic William Steig died of natural causes at his home in Boston on October 3rd, 2003. He is survived by his wife Jeanne, two daughters, and a son.