Best known as the author of the Wizard of Oz series, Lyman Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856, in New York. When Baum was a young man, his father, who had made a fortune in oil, gave him several theaters in New York and Pennsylvania to manage. Eventually, Baum had his first taste of success as a writer when he staged The Maid of Arran, a melodrama he had written and scored. Married in 1882 to Maud Gage, whose mother was an influential suffragette, the two had four sons. Baum often entertained his children with nursery rhymes and in 1897 published a compilation titled Mother Goose in Prose, which was illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. The project was followed by three other picture books of rhymes, illustrated by William Wallace Denslow. The success of the nursery rhymes persuaded Baum to craft a novel out of one of the stories, which he titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Some critics have suggested that Baum modeled the character of the Wizard on himself. Other books for children followed the original Oz book, and Baum continued to produce the popular Oz books until his death in 1919. The series was so popular that after Baum's death and by special arrangement, Oz books continued to be written for the series by other authors. Glinda of Oz, the last Oz book that Baum wrote, was published in 1920.
David McKee's first book was published in 1964. His books are now published in many languages throughout the world, and many of them have been adapted for television. He is one of the leading contemporary children's book creators.
Author Cornelia Maria Funke was born in Dorsten, Germany on December 10, 1958. After graduating from the University of Hamburg, she worked as a social worker for three years. After completing a course in book illustration at the Hamburg State College of Design, she worked as a children's book illustrator and designed board games. Her desire to draw magical worlds and her disappointment over the way some stories were written inspired her to write her own children's books. Her book, The Thief Lord, won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the best translated children's book of the year and the Book Sense Book of the Year Award. She has also received the Book Sense Children's Literature Award for Inkheart and Inkspell. Funke has written numerous books including Dragon Rider, When Santa Fell to Earth, Igraine The Brave, Reckless, Saving Mississippi, Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath, Igraine the Brave, and The Princess Knight. Inkheart was adapted into a film. Cornelia Funke was voted into the Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2005.