Symeon Shimin Onion John
Zeely Sam

Symeon Shimin was born on November 1, 1902 in Astrakhan, Russia. He emigrated to the United States in 1912, where his parents ran a delicatessen. He was primarily self-taught. At age 16, he apprenticed himself to a commercial artist. In 1938, he was commissioned to paint a mural at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

He illustrated his first picture book when Hermann and Nina Scheider revised their How Big is Big? in 1950. He illustrated Virginia Hamilton’s Zeely, Joseph Krumgold’s Onion John, and Madeleine L’Engle’s Dance in the Desert, among many others. Mr. Shimin died in 1984.


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