Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An Author a Day - Robert San Souci

January 1

Robert San Souci (October 10, 1946-December 19, 2014) contributed to the lexicon of  books for young readers from the time his first title The Legend of Scarface: A Blackfeet Indian Tale was published in 1978 until his untimely death in 2014.  Actually his first book published was his third manuscript; the first two were rejected.  His brother a renowned illustrator in his own right, Dan San Souci, illustrated his first book.  From this story came the inspiration to write versions of other folk literature and legends based on the locations of his many travels.  I've always been fond of his story Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend (1995).  He was on a conference speaking trip to Des Moines, Iowa and was having dinner with friends.  He asked his friends to tell him any stories that were legend in their locality.  They told him the story of Kate Shelley.  When he returned home he began to research the story of a young woman from Moingona, Iowa who saved a trainload of people from a raging river.
However, my absolute favorite title by San Souci is his cajun version of the folktale The Talking Eggs, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney's watercolors added just the right charm and ... to the story.
Among San Souci's most recent books were Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow (2010, illustrated by E.B. Lewis) and Haunted Houses (2010, illustrated by Kelly Murphy & Antoine J.D. Revoy).  Robert San Souci lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.

Update: Robert San Souci fell and injured his head during the third week of December of 2014; he died as a result of that fall on Friday December 19, 2014.   At the time of his death two new books were scheduled for production -- Two Bear Cubs: A Miwok Legend from California's Yosemite Valley (Yosemite Conservancy [August 11, 2015], with illustrations by Daniel San Souci)  and a digital release of a 2002 book, The Twins and the Bird of Darkness: A Hero Tale from the Caribbean (Simon and Schuster digital, 2015)

McElmeel, Sharron L.  100 Most Popular Picture Book Authors and Illustrators.  ABC/CLIO/Libraries Unlimited, 2000;  pages 415-419.

Robert D. San Souci's Home Page (WEB)  http://www.rsansouci.com

Sharron L. McElmeel Papers, University of Iowa's Special Collections, Iowa City, Iowa.

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