Elaine Moss, 96, in Aug. (UK critic/educator/juv. writer)
(too old to reply)
2020-09-09 07:39:56 UTC
She lived in Highgate, London.

From "Contemporary Authors":

...During her long career, which included stints as a librarian and a teacher, Moss has written regularly about children's books for such publications as the London Times and the Sunday Mirror. "Surely, the space that is given to children's books should be used positively to help parents and teachers get a grasp of the basic principles of choosing with children the books they will enjoy," she once observed to CA. But Moss also noted differences between writing for the Times and the Mirror; in writing for the tabloid Sunday Mirror "you have to write simple but arresting prose" and "you have to guard against disappointment and disillusion on the part of the bookseeker."

During the 1970s Moss served as editor of Children's Books of the Year, a publication issued under the auspices of the National Book League and the British Council. "No 'real' critic . . . would have taken on that job," she later admitted. "I didn't actually take it on, though; it just happened." Moss's editorship of the Children's Books of the Year series came as a result of her initial involvement with the National Book League's annual selection of five hundred leading children's works. That annual selection, showcased as a touring exhibition, was eventually supervised, and annotated, by Moss.

(this includes a drawing of Moss by Quentin Blake)


...In 1961 she edited Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels to make it accessible for a younger audience and, having begun to write herself, she had her first children’s story, Wait and See Book, published three years later, followed in 1965 by Twirly.

In 1970, the year she became the selector for the National Book League’s Children’s Books of the Year awards, she began to contribute articles and interviews to Signal, a journal about children’s literature, and in 1975 she had another children’s book, Polar, published.

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Two years later Elaine won the Eleanor Farjeon award for her outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books, and in 1986 she brought out her memoirs, Part of the Pattern. Throughout the 1980s she was also a volunteer at Fleet Primary school in Hampstead, working in the library and reading to children. She also sold children’s books from a street barrow in north London....

(Adapter) Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, illustrated by Hans Baltzer, Constable (London, England), 1961.
Twirly, illustrated by Haro, Constable (London, England), 1963, illustrated by Shan Ellentuck, Coward-McCann (New York, NY), 1965.
The Wait and See Book, illustrated by Sally Ford, Constable (London, England), 1964.
(Adapter) Helen Waddell, The Story of Saul the King (based on Waddell's Stories from Holy Writ ), illustrated by Doreen Roberts, Constable (London, England), 1966.
Polar, illustrated by Jeannie Baker, Dutton (New York, NY), 1975.
(Editor) From Morn to Midnight (verse), illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa, Crowell (New York, NY), 1977.
Peter Pipers, Berridge Johnson (London, England), 1984.
The Peter Pipers at the Fair, Berridge Johnson (London, England), 1984.
The Peter Pipers at the Wildlife Park, Berridge Johnson (London, England), 1984.
The Peter Pipers Birthday Party, Berridge Johnson (London, England), 1984.
The Peter Pipers in the Garden, Berridge Johnson (London, England), 1984.
(Editor) One Hundred Books for Children, 1966-1967, National Book League (London, England), 1968, expanded edition, 1968.
(Selector) Reading for Enjoyment with Two-to Five-Year-Olds, Children's Booknews (London, England), 1970.
(Selector) Paperbacks for Children: Two to Eleven, National Book League (London, England), 1973.
The Audience for Children's Books, Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1978.
(Editor) Picture Books for Young People: Nine to Thirteen, Thimble (Stroud, England), 1981, revised edition, 1985.
(Editorial advisor) The Good Book Guide to Children's Books, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Penguin (London, England), 1983, new edition, 1986.
Part of the Pattern: A Personal Journey through the World of Children's Books, 1960-1985, Greenwillow Press (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Nancy Chambers) The Signal Companion, [England], 1996.

Lenona's profile photo
3:35 AM (now)

(includes old photo)


...Looking back on her professional life (Signal 91, Jan 2000), Moss described the beginnings of a career rooted somewhat in happenstance. Born in London in 1924, she recalled that neither of her parents was particularly bookish but she remembered her mother reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the family, and Moss herself was a keen reader. At 16, due to the Second World War, she found herself school-less. As she was fond of reading, her mother sent her off to the local library to ask for a job . . . they put her in charge of the children’s library. She read History at Bedford College giving rise to a particular interest in children’s historical fiction in later life. After undertaking teacher training, she found herself working at a boarding school in Haslemere, largely teaching English to refugees from Europe. This was followed by chartership examinations to become a librarian, although not a children’s librarian, such a role did not exist at that time.

It was Moss’s experience of working with legendary children’s editor Grace Hogarth that marked the real turning point in her career. Having had to give up work on getting married, in 1955 she went to work as a part-time PA for Grace Hogarth, who at that point worked as a scout for four American publishers. A self-described ‘Grace’s girl’ (Signal 78, Sept 1995) she credited Grace Hogarth as her mentor. By 1955, Hogarth already had a network of women who worked for her as readers while also raising their families. When Grace Hogarth set up Constable Young Books, Moss started reading for her there. It was here that Moss was introduced to fellow Grace’s girl, Nancy Chambers; this was to prove fortuitous for both women, marking the beginning of a long association between them....

...Looking back at Elaine Moss’s pieces in Signal it is striking how relevant so much of her work remains. Two articles in 1978, ‘Them’s for the Infants, Miss’ Parts One and Two (Signal 26, May and Signal 27, Sept) argued strongly for the use of picturebooks with older children...

(Review of Polar)
2020-09-09 15:20:45 UTC
A few book covers:

("Gulliver's Travels")

(a different cover for G.T.)

("The Good Book Guide to Childrens' Books" with Quentin Blake)

("PART OF THE PATTERN: A Personal Journey Through the World of Children's Books 1960-1985")

"From Morn to Midnight")