Katharine Holabird

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Katharine Holabird
Born (1948-01-23) January 23, 1948 (age 71)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Education Francis W. Parker School
Alma mater Bennington College
Notable works Angelina Ballerina

Katharine Holabird (born January 23, 1948) is an American writer, best known as the author of the Angelina Ballerina series and Twinkle.

Angelina Ballerina is a series of children's books by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig about a fictional mouse who is training to become a ballerina. The first book in the series was published in 1983, and since then there have been over twenty books in the series. The series is set in Chipping Cheddar, a place similar to 1920s London. The name "Angelina" was inspired by an editor named Angela at Aurum Press.


Early life and education

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the second of four daughters, Holabird grew up in an artistic home in Chicago, and her family spent many summers in Michigan. [1] In 1969, she received a B.A. in literature from Bennington College in Vermont and then worked at Bennington College as a literary editor for a year after her graduation.

Cambridge, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Boston metropolitan area.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.


Holabird then found herself in Italy as a freelance journalist where she met her husband, Michael Haggiag. The two married in 1974 and moved to London, where she continued to write and worked at a nursery school. She has two daughters, Tara and Alexandra. Later, Holabird met Helen Craig, a London photographer and artist whose illustrations have been inspired by her childhood in rural England. Over the next few years, Craig illustrated several mini-books with mice, and Holabird provided some of the text. [2] In 1983, her third child, Adam, was born.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Helen Craig is an English children's book illustrator and writer. She is best known for creating the Angelina Ballerina series of children's books with writer Katharine Holabird.

In 1983, Holabird's first children's book, Angelina Ballerina , was published. [2] Her son Adam was her inspiration for the character Henry, and Angelina's character was inspired by her daughters' love for dressing up and dancing. [2] Holabird wrote the first draft of Angelina Ballerina at the kitchen table with her daughters dancing around her. In fact, the Angelina books were originally about a girl, but then Craig drew a mouse, and Holabird loved it. "The impulsive character of Angelina came alive," says Holabird, "and seemed to pirouette off the page with enthusiasm and energy, while her plump and ebullient body expressed drama and attitude in every twitch of her tail." Angelina is a very emotional character; she is sensitive and often bursts into tears right before offering an apology. She struggles with her conscience but always ends up doing the right thing—which is very familiar to many young children. The universal childhood themes in Angelina include friendship, jealousy, loyalty, & dedication. As a child, she was an avid reader who loved fairy tales and stories about heroic animals, and she frequently saw ballets like Cinderella and Swan Lake with her grandmother. The young, imaginative Holabird loved animals, playing in her tree house, and dancing with her sisters. When reflecting on her childhood, she said: "TV hadn't become a fixture in every home, and we created our own imaginative world." She graduated high school from the Francis Parker School in realistically portray the difficulties of growing up. According to Holabird, it is a ballerina book for "all the passionate little dancers and performers in the world," including her own two daughters, which is why she "decided to explore the impulsive, highly emotional character of a small but determined ballerina."

Cinderella European folk tale

"Cinderella" or The Little Glass Slipper, is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo sometime between around 7 BC and 23 AD, about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, is usually considered to be the earliest known variant of the Cinderella story. The first literary European version of the story was published in Italy by Giambattista Basile in his Pentamerone in 1634; the version that is now most widely known in the English-speaking world was published in French by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Another version was later published by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales in 1812.

<i>Swan Lake</i> Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Swan Lake, Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets.

Francis W. Parker School (Chicago) independent school located in Chicagos Lincoln Park neighborhood

Francis W. Parker School is an independent school serving students who live in the Chicago area from junior kindergarten through twelfth grade. Located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the school is based on the progressive education philosophies of John Dewey and Colonel Francis Wayland Parker, emphasizing community and citizenship. Tuition and fees range from $29,710 for kindergarten to $37,240 for grade 12.

The first American edition of Angelina Ballerina was published in 1984. A year later, Holabird received the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for Angelina Ballerina. In 1986 and 1987, she received the ALA Notable Book Awards. Angelina's Christmas was selected as Child Study Association's Children's Book of the Year in 1987. The following year, Holabird and Craig published Alexander and the Dragon, their first Alexander book, aimed at preschool children who want to be consoled about bedtime monsters. In 1990, Holabird wrote the Alexander sequel, Alexander and the Magic Boat, which portrays a strong mother/son relationship while the two go on a voyage to imaginary worlds. Also in 1990, Holabird received the British Book Design and Production award.

In 1999, HIT Entertainment in London (known for Thomas the Tank Engine , Bob the Builder , and Barney ) secured the rights for Angelina Ballerina and commissioned Grand Slamm Children's Films to make an animated TV pilot. HIT also developed a lot of Angelina merchandise. Angelina made her worldwide television debut in 2001 on CITV in the United Kingdom. Actress Finty Williams is the voice of Angelina, and her mother, Judi Dench, is Miss Lilly. In 2002, the Angelina series premiered on PBS Kids TV in the United States. Angelina Ballerina's Invitation to the Ballet received the prestigious Oppenheim Platinum Award in the U.S. in 2004. That same year, Angelina was named the official spokesperson of National Dance Week in the United States. In 2005, Angelina made her debut on PBS Kids Sprout, a 24-hour digital television channel for preschoolers in the U.S.

HIT Entertainment

HIT Entertainment Ltd. is a British-American entertainment company owned by Mattel and originally established in 1982 as Henson International Television. It was founded as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions. HIT owns and distributes children's television series such as Barney & Friends, Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina.

Thomas the Tank Engine fictional steam locomotive

Thomas the Tank Engine is a fictional steam locomotive in The Railway Series books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher, published from 1945 on. He became the most popular character in the series, and is the title protagonist in the accompanying television spin-off series Thomas & Friends.

<i>Bob the Builder</i> British childrens animated television show

Bob the Builder is a British children's animated television show created by Keith Chapman. In the original series, Bob appears in a stop motion animated programme as a building contractor, specialising in masonry, along with his colleague Wendy, various neighbours and friends, and their gang of anthropomorphised work-vehicles and equipment. The show is broadcast in many countries, but originates from the United Kingdom where Bob is voiced by English actor Neil Morrissey. The show was later created using CGI animation starting with the spin-off series Ready, Steady, Build!.

Holabird was honored in 2006 with an invitation to Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday party at Buckingham Palace. [3] That same year, the entire series of Angelina books was reissued by Grosset and Dunlap in the United States. Also in 2006, The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy debuted with special Angelina ballet classes across England. Angelina's Star Performance, an original ballet based on Angelina at the Palace, debuted in 2007 in London with the English National Ballet. Holabird is hoping to release a new theatrical pop-up Angelina book in 2008. Together, Holabird and Craig have now published a total of ten Angelina books and two Alexander books. Overall, the Angelina books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Holabird speaks English, French, Italian, and a bit of Spanish. Her favorite books are Charlotte's Web , Black Beauty , and the Harry Potter series. She writes in a blue room with a scenic view upstairs in her London home, and it usually takes her six to eight weeks to write an Angelina book. After that, each book goes to Helen Craig for at least three months to be illustrated; then it goes to the publisher and is usually published nine months later.

Her most recent work, Twinkle , is about a child fairy that goes to the Fairy School for Music and Magic. [3]

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  1. "Katharine Holabird was once a Chicago".
  2. 1 2 3 "PW Talks with Katharine Holabird".
  3. 1 2 "A Conversation with Katharine Holabird - The Sag Harbor Express". 24 November 2015.