Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) grew up in England in a house filled with books, and she and her brothers enjoyed reading stories to one another and writing their own. In America, Farjeon’s best-known work may be the hymn “Morning Has Broken,” later recorded by Cat Stevens, but in her native country she is beloved as the author of Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep, Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, and, of course, The Little Bookroom. Farjeon was pleased when The Little Bookroom won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal, but she turned down another honor—Dame of the British Empire—explaining that she “did not wish to become different from the milkman.” At her death, the Children’s Book Circle established the Eleanor Farjeon Award in her honor.
“Eleanor Farjeon is a master at presenting the world as romance. Yet there is bite in it. Her worlds of imagination are no simpering constructions, all syrup and sugar, with fairies uprooted from their antique and awesome lineage. They are shadowed with weeping now and then, but the strongest note is affirmation, an exuberance of joy.” —The Horn Book