“A children’s book must be written, not for children but for the author himself.” When Disney bought the film rights to Winnie-the-Pooh in 1961, this cuddly bear became a part of every American’s childhood, and we all felt we knew the author A.A. Milne.
For example, how many of us believe that Alan Alexander Milne, born April 18, 1882, just wrote down the stories he told his young son? In reality, young Christopher never heard the stories of this beloved bear until about 60 years after their publication.
Like so many, A.A. Milne found inspiration from one of his first teachers, H.G. Wells, a man who has also left his legacy to the literary world. After finishing school, he went to London determined to become an author. His first book Lovers in London (1905) was a flop. When his money ran out he began to freelance for the local paper.
A few years later his wife sent in some of his verse and it sold well, and soon he was branching out into magazine writing, creating The Doorman and the Doctor for Merry Go Round Magazine. When Christopher was born in 1920, Milne was inspired to write a different kind of story (up until then he considered himself a humorist and playwright). When We Were Young (1924), Winnie-the Pooh (1926) and the play “Toad of Toad Hall” (1929) were the result.
Milne continued to write beyond Pooh, publishing a detective novel The Red House Mystery (1922) and his autobiography It’s Too Late Now (1939). Pooh has been translated into almost every known language and has fulfilled Milne’s words: “I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality; to leave, I mean, a name behind him which will live forever in this world.” Milne died in 1956.