Know Your History – 4th November – Sterling North born

know your history - writingOn this day… 4th November 1906, Sterling North born.

Thomas Sterling North (November 4, 1906 – December 21, 1974), who used Sterling North professionally, was an American writer. He is best known for the children’s novel Rascal, a bestseller in 1963.

On Writing

North’s best-selling and best-known work, Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era, was published by E. P. Dutton in 1963. It is a remembrance of a year in his childhood when he raised a baby raccoon which he named Rascal. It received a Newbery Honor in 1964, a Sequoyah Book Award in 1966, and a Young Reader’s Choice Award in 1966. It was made into the Disney movie of the same name in 1969.Sterling North_comics bad_ libraries good

Additionally, it was made into a 52-episode Japanese anime entitled Araiguma Rasukaru. The success of the anime was responsible for the unfortunate introduction of the North American raccoon into Japan (up to 1,500 raccoons were imported as pets each year after the success of the anime series Rascal the Raccoon in 1977).

Did You Know?..

The setting of Rascal is now a museum.

North’s childhood home in Edgerton, Wisconsin (known as Brailsford Junction in the book), is preserved as a museum. The author’s daughter, Arielle North Olson, a respected children’s author in her own right, is an honorary director of the museum. Rascal related items at the museum include: the high chair where Rascal tried to eat the sugar cube, the barn where Rascal’s entrance hole has been patched, the oak tree where Rascal stayed, Sterling’s scratched sentiment of “Damn Kaiser Bill” on the barn (his brother was serving in WWI), Sterling’s initials painted inside the garage with the same green paint that went on his canoe, and a recreation of the chicken wire screen protecting their Christmas tree.

Other nearby locations mentioned in the book are Lake Koshkonong, the Rock River, and the Indianford dam.


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