Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Old Country

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The Old Country

by Mordicai Gerstein

The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 144 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 144 pages

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Beyond the Book

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Mordicai Gerstein was born in Los Angeles in 1935 and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. After leaving the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles he got a job in an animated cartoon studio, and worked for many years in New York mainly on TV commercials.

In 1970 he met Elizabeth Levy, who would change the course of his life. She had written a mystery and was looking for an illustrator. The book became a series that has continued for more than 30 years.

After a few years Gerstein felt that he wanted to write books himself. He says 'at first I could only write stories one page long, which I put on my wall like drawings. Over time the stories got longer, one led to another, and even if they were serious, they had to be funny, too. After working at writing for about ten years, I wrote a story about a boy who was raised as a duck. The story became a book and I became an author as well as an illustrator.' Since then he has written and illustrated more than 30 books including The Man Who Walked Between the Towers which won the 2004 Caldecott Medal.

This article was originally published in June 2005, and has been updated for the August 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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