Born: September 13, 1917
Ohio connection: Birth
Born in Bucyrus, Ohio on September 13, 1917, Carol Kendall was the daughter of John Adam and Laura (Price) Seeger. While attending Ohio University, she met Paul Murray Kendall, a Ph.D. who specialized in Renaissance literature and Shakespeare. The couple married on July 15, 1939. Kendall received her A.B. from Ohio University in the same year. Her first published work, The Black Seven (Harper, 1946), was an adult mystery novel that featured a twelve-year-old as its protagonist. Kendall enjoyed writing about the emotions, experiences and perspectives of children, and welcomed the opportunity of discussing resolutions to divisive real life social issues in the fantasy environment of children’s literature. Following the 1957 release of The Other Side of the Tunnel, Kendall began writing The Gammage Cup. Her breakthrough novel, it was a 1960 Newbery Honor book published on both sides of the Atlantic. The Gammage Cup chronicled the cultural rude awakening of the Minnipins, a race of tiny people who, although ignorant of their past and the world beyond the mountains, lived comfortable and conformist lives in a floating slipper. That is, before the keeper of their history museum attempts to integrate two people from outside their caste into their idyllic, though biased society. Subsequent books included The Big Splash and The Whisper of Glocken. Six years after her husband’s death in 1972, Sweet and Sour: Tales From China was released. In 1980, The Whisper of Glocken was developed into a thirteen-week British television series and premiered on Independent British Television. Following two years later was the publication of The Firelings. Also, in 1985, Haunting Tales From Japan appeared. Containing six short stories based on folk tales for children ages nine to thirteen, Haunting Tales included full-page color reproductions of 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints that introduced each story. In many of her works, Kendall advocated the inclusion of non-conformists within society and the promulgation of the concept that non-conformity itself was not a sinister, twisted deviation from normalcy but merely a conscious choice to be different. Residing in Lawrence, Kansas, Kendall keeps in regular contact with her two children, daughters Gillian and Carol. As a tribute to her old alma mater, Kendall donated to the Ohio University Library the typescripts to The Gammage Cup and Whisper of Glocken.
Ohioana Award and Newbery Medal Honor Book Award, both for The Gammage Cup, 1960; Parents' Choice Award, 1982, and Mythopoeic Society Aslan Award, 1983, both for The Firelings.