Born on September 14, 1911, in the Shenandoah Valley near Lexington, Virginia, William H. Armstrong graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1936. He married Martha Williams in 1942—they were the parents of two boys and a girl. His wife died when their children were very young. He farmed in Connecticut near the Housatonic River, also learning to be a carpenter and a stonemason. In 1945, Mr. Armstrong began teaching 13- and 14-year-olds at Kent School in Kent, Connecticut. He taught his students ancient history for 52 years. His first book, Study is Hard Work, was published in 1956. In 1969, his most renowned novel, Sounder, was published and won both the Newbery Medal and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. He wrote two sequels to that story, Sour Land (1971) and The MacLeod Place (1972). Armstrong died in 1999.