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“What need we touch a child—
with our books and rules?
Let him walk among the hills and flowers,
Let him gaze upon the waters,
Let him look up to the stars—
And he will have wisdom.”

Author and illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund, born on January 3, is best known for her round-faced, featureless characters and her inspirational messages, inspired largely from her own children, Joy and Todd. Her characters grace figurines, hand-made plaques, notecards, cross stitch patterns and ornaments.

Her publishing success began with her first book, A Friend is Someone Who Likes You in 1958. During her lifetime she has written and illustrated over 75 children’s books, selling over 40 million copies world wide. Perhaps you recognize her from a quarterly piece in Good Housekeeping or other titles like In A Pumpkin Shell (1960) or The Brave Cowboy (1959)?

Regardless of how you know her, Joan Walsh Anglund has become a part of American culture and her words touch the hearts of children across generations. “Praise, like sunlight,” she writes, “helps all things grow.”

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