May 18, 1907, Irene Hunt came into this world, born to Sarah and Franklin Hunt. At the age of seven, Irene’s father died. Shortly afterward she and her mother moved to live with her grandparents on a farm in Illinois. Irene grew to be very close to her Grandfather and loved to listen to the stories he told of his childhood during the Civil War. From these stories came her first novel, Across Five Aprils. Irene wrote this classic in 1963 and when it was published in 1964 she was 57 years old. Across Five Aprils was named a Newbery Honor book in 1965. In 1967, Hunt received a Newbery Medal for Up a Road Slowly.
“He’s like a man standin’ where two roads meet…and one road is as dark and fearsome as the other; there ain’t a choice between the two, and yet a choice has to be made.” Words from Across Five Aprils, the work of a master! I can remember reading these words as though it were yesterday.
Ms. Hunt worked as a French and English teacher for 17 years. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Minnesota. She retired from teaching in 1969.