Virginia Lee Burton was born on August 30, 1909 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. She studied art at the California School of Fine Arts and the Boston Museum School. One of her earliest jobs was as a “sketcher” for the arts section of the Boston Transcript.
She married George Demetrios, a sculptor and her teacher at the Museum School, in 1931. They settled in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where they had two sons. “I literally draw my books first and write down the text after “I pin the sketched pages in sequence on the walls of my studio so I can see the books as a whole. Then I make a rough dummy and then the final drawings, and at last when I can put it off no longer, I type out the text and paste it in the dummy.”
Thirteen publishers rejected her first manuscript about a dust particle, Joniffer Lint. When her three-year-old son fell asleep on her lap while she read it to him, she stopped sending it to publishers, and thereafter relied on children as her primary critics.
Her classic books have never been out of print and are currently embraced by a fourth generation of early readers. She won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for The Little House. Virginia Lee Burton died October 15, 1968.
For more information on the author, her books, and her design work, please visit Virginia Lee Burton, The Film.