Authors & Illustrators Born in the Month of May William Pène du Bois • May 9th, 1916

Author and illustrator of "Twenty One Balloons"
William Pène du Bois, "The Forbidden Forest," 1978

William Pène du Bois, "The Forbidden Forest," 1978

William Pène du Bois (1916-1993) was an American author and illustrator who is perhaps best known for his Newbury-winning novel, “Twenty-One Balloons (1947)”, an adventure about the eruption of Krakatoa. However, he wrote and illustrated a number of other books that brought him acclaim. “Bear Party” and “Lion” won him Caldecott honors, and his beloved “Otto” series about a huge dog, have been enduringly popular and undoubtedly influenced the “Clifford” series about a big yellow dog. “Gentleman Bear” (1985), about a man and his teddy-bear companion, has always seemed delightfully autobiographical to me.

"Bear Circus, by William Pène du Bois, (1971)

"Bear Circus, by William Pène du Bois, (1971)

"Twenty_one Balloons" by William Pène du Bois (1947)
"Otto in Texas" William Pène du Bois (1959)

"Otto in Texas" William Pène du Bois (1959)

"Gentleman Bear by William Pène du Bois (1985)

"Gentleman Bear by William Pène du Bois (1985)

"Lion" by William Pène du Bois (1956)

"Lion" by William Pène du Bois (1956)

His parents were Guy Pène du Bois, the famed painter, art critic, and teacher, and Florence Sherman, a fashion designer for children’s clothing. William’s older sister Yvonne became a painter, and their cousin Margot Tomes became a children’s book illustrator. Raoul Pène du Bois, another cousin, became a prolific costume and set designer for the theater, crafting materials for Broadway productions such as "Doctor Jazz" (1975) and "Sugar Babies" (1979).