Jean Craighead George was born on July 2, 1919, into a family of naturalists. On weekends they camped in the woods near their Washington, D.C. home, climbed trees to study owls, gathered edible plants and made fish hooks from twigs. Her first pet was a turkey vulture. She began writing in the third grade and continued throughout her life, publishing more than 90 books.
Ms. George received a degree in Science and Literature from Penn State University and started her career as a reporter for the Washington Post and as a member of the White House Press Corp. She was a writer and editor at Readers’ Digest for 13 years.
Her book My Side of the Mountain received a Newbery Honor in 1960 and Julie of the Wolves won a Newbery Award in 1973. Julie of the Wolves, a riveting tale of a young girl who gets lost on the Alaskan tundra and survives by being adopted by a wolf pack, has become a modern classic.
George’s three children all became naturalists—together they raised 173 wild animals before returning them to nature.
Ms. George passed away on May 15, 2012, at the age of 92.