July 14th: Gustav Klimt & Peggy Parish

For the first time since The Midpoint Series, Google has posted another Doodle in the United States, honoring the 150th birthday of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. Quick stats check: this is the 17th Doodle focused on a male honoree that has been posted in the U.S. this year. Even if the very next Doodle posted here honors a female creator or innovator, that would lead to only 5.5% representation of women in 2012.

Here, we’re going to speak up for another cool creator born on this date who was part of my childhood (and maybe yours, too): Peggy Parish, author of the Amelia Bedelia series of children’s books!

Peggy Parish

Peggy Parish.

Parish was born on July 14, 1927, in South Carolina, and after earning a B.A. in English literature worked as a schoolteacher for two decades. From her passion for small children was born her desire to create books that they would like to read. She believed strongly that it was important not only to nurture a child’s reading skills, but also her or his love of stories and language.

From this foundation, Parish created the character of Amelia Bedelia; in each story, Amelia creates a bizarre scenario because she interprets language literally. Whether she’s making a sponge cake out of sponges or running all the way home in a baseball games, Amelia entertains kids while showing them some of the quirks of English — and showing them it’s okay to make mistakes.

The Amelia Bedelia series, comprising 11 books by Parish, is the most well-known of Peggy Parish’s books, but she wrote 40 other children’s books as well, including My Little Golden Book of Manners. Parish passed away in 1988, but her nephew, Herman Parish, has continued and expanded the Amelia Bedelia books.

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