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Aliki, 1929-

(a.k.a. Alyce "Aliki" Liacouras Brandenberg)

(former Temple Chancellor Peter James Liacouras's sister)
married name: Brandenberg

Profile (by H. W. Wilson Co.)

Picture Books Author of the Month (Greenville Public Library)

Author of the Month (Cedar Falls Public Library)

Our April author is known by the name of Aliki and she currently has 64 titles in print. This author writes fiction when she wants to express an experience and non-fiction when she wants to investigate a particular topic. Aliki says she does a tremendous amount of research before writing non-fiction. This is in order to write accurately about the chosen subject and to illustrate the book in a realistic fashion.

Aliki was born on September 3, 1929 in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. She is a graduate of the Museum College of Art in Philadelphia and she and her husband Franz Brandenberg now make their home in London. When not writing or illustrating children's books, Aliki likes to work with paper, fabric, clay and metal. She also enjoys doing macrame weaving, baking, traveling, reading and gardening.

Aliki  (from Children's Literature Web Guide)

Aliki's talent for art was recognized by her kindergarten teacher, but it was not until after her marriage, and her move to Switzerland, that her first book, The Story of William Tell, was published. Since then she has been a prolific writer and illustrator of both fiction and non-fiction books for children. By the summer of 1996, two more of her books will have appeared.

Aliki was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA., and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art. As well as illustrating her own works, she has also illustrated the works of others, including those of her husband Franz, Joanna Cole and Paul Showers. Her two children, Alexa and Jason, appear in many of her books.

Aliki has been the recipient of many honours including the New York Academy of Sciences Children's Book Award and the Prix du Livre pour Enfants (Geneva). Her many books for the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Books series are familiar to many budding researchers and teacher-librarians.

Selective Bibliography:

  • Best Friends Together Again
  • Christmas Tree Memories, HarperCollins, 1991.
  • Communication
  • Corn is Maize
  • Digging Up Dinosaurs, HarperCollins, 1988.
  • Dinosaur Bones, HarperCollins, 1988.
  • Dinosaurs Are Different
  • Feelings
  • Green Grass and White Milk
  • How a Book is Made, HarperCollins, 1986.
  • I'm Growing, HarperCollins, 1992.
  • Jack and Jake
  • June 7!
  • Keep Your Mouth Closed, Dear
  • The King's Day
  • The Listening Walk, HarperCollins, 1991 (Illustrator).
  • The Long-Lost Coelacanth
  • Manners
  • The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin
  • A Medieval Feast, HarperCollins, 1983.
  • Milk From Cow to Carton
  • Mummies Made in Egypt, HarperCollins, 1979.
  • My Feet
  • My Hands
  • My Five Senses, HarperCollins, 1989.
  • My Visit to the Aquarium, HarperCollins, 1993.
  • My Visit to the Dinosaurs, HarperCollins, 1985.
  • Overnight at Mary Bloom's
  • The Story of Johnny Appleseed
  • Tabby
  • Those Days, HarperCollins, 1996.
  • The Twelve Months
  • The Two of Them
  • Use Your Head, Dear
  • We Are Best Friends
  • A Weed is a Flower
  • Welcome, Little Baby
  • Wild and Woolly Mammoths, HarperCollins, 1996 (revised).
  • The Wish Workers


Autobiographical sketch (Profile by H. W. Wilson)

September 3, 1929-
Author and Illustrator

Autobiographical sketch written for the Third Book of Junior Authors, 1972:

Acknowledging my place of birth always makes me uncomfortable, for it was accidental. I lived in (and later near) Philadelphia, but was born at the seashore (Wildwood Crest, New Jersey) while my family was still vacationing.

I don't know exactly when I first started drawing, but I remember vividly when two of my paintings were exhibited in kindergarten. They were both portraits of families with three girls and a boy named Peter. My own and Peter Rabbit's. Such a fuss was made over them that the course of my life was decided that day.

My first-grade teacher used any excuse to give me books on drawing. I even stopped biting my nails for a week for one such reward.

All through school I drew constantly, even when I wasn't supposed to, and took Saturday art classes. After high school in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, I attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art.

Following graduation in 1951 I spent a year in New York working in the display department of the J. C. Penney Company, and the next five in Philadelphia. I free-lanced in advertising art and display, painted murals, had a greeting card company, and taught art and ceramics.

In 1956 I went abroad, sketching and painting, mainly in Italy and Greece. The trip was memorable, for although my parents were born in Greece and I spoke Greek before English, it was then I discovered my background.

I also met Franz Brandenberg, whom I married a year later. We lived in Switzerland (in Berne and Zurich), where I continued my career. It was there I realized William Tell was Swiss. We visited the territory in which he lived, and the legend took on new meaning. I wrote and illustrated my first book, The Story of William Tell, which was published (by Faber and Faber, London) in 1960.

That year we moved to New York and among other things, I was asked to illustrate several books. One was for the T. Y. Crowell Let's Read and Find Out series. While I drew, another book was forming in my mind. One Friday evening I wrote the words and called it My Five Senses. I drew the dummy on Sunday and Monday, and on Tuesday it was accepted. Later, I found it is not quite that easy, but that most books do germinate in a hidden part of the mind, and are released by a pen and a clean sheet of paper.

I have illustrated about forty books, fifteen of which I have written, including Keep Your Mouth Closed, Dear, The Story of Johnny Appleseed, A Weed Is a Flower--The Life of G. W. Carver, and two Greek folk tales, Three Gold Pieces and The Eggs.

I have always felt close to children and books, and feel fortunate that I can direct what creativity I have to both. Besides, I have found myself, for in advertising, I was always asked, "What are you? Full color? Pen and ink? Gouache?" In books I can express a manuscript any way I choose, and still be myself.

We have two children, Jason (April 15, 1964) and Alexa (June 7, 1966), who are both picture-book age. They are finding a way in my books.

Biographical Statement:

Aliki's work has been in exhibitions of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Interested in many forms of arts and crafts, she makes dolls and has worked in silver, enamel, ceramics, papier-mache, clay, and various forms of collage.

Aliki has also worked as a muralist and commercial artist in many cities including New York.

In 1968, Aliki won The Boys' Clubs of America Junior Award for The Three Gold Pieces: A Greek folktale. She also won first prize for The New York Academy of Sciences Children's Book Award Program in 1976 for Corn is Maize.

Many of her ideas have derived from places she has visited, including such countries as Switzerland and Greece. Aliki has written both fiction and non-fiction with a preference in science, biography and history. Aliki's objective in writing non-fiction has been to produce a great deal of research on a subject she knows little about and to turn complicated facts into simple, easy to understand books for young readers. In her biographies she adds humor and has 'to know and love' her subject and allow him to become part of her life. Aliki claims that her ideas have taken years to develop, trailing as far back as high school, travels, and museums. In Mary's Blooms, which derived from a personal experience, was chosen by the American Institute of Graphic Arts for the Children's Book Show in 1976 and by the Children's Book Council for Children's Book Showcase in 1977.

Aliki's illustrations are diverse ranging from 'modern' designs, like simple shapes and bright colors to old-fashioned. She also states: "if children pay attention . . . they should be able to look at it again and again finding things they had not seen before."

Aliki is known for her biographies on historical figures like George Washington, Johnny Appleseed, Benjamin Franklin, William Penn, and George Washington Carver. She has also received critical acclaim for her historical pieces on such subjects as dinosaurs, medieval feasts, and Egypt. Aliki's series of books on dinosaurs, Digging Up Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs are Different and My Visit to the Dinosaurs are very popular with young readers and have been used on Reading Rainbow. In Mummies in Egypt, she is noted for her depiction of Gods and Godesses, ancient symbols and rituals. This book won the Dutch Children's Book Council Silver Slate Pencil Award and Garden State Children's Book Award in 1981. Aliki's innovative use of the comic book style in, How a Book is Made and Feelings has endeared itself to readers, old and young alike.

The award-winning Greek folktale Three Gold Pieces is for readers in kindergarten to grade two. This story tells about a Greek peasant who works for ten years and only earns three pieces of gold. The New York Times states that this book "exudes an almost biblical quality with its virtuous hero triumphing over worldly temptations . . . Aliki's rich oriental illustrations are moving. Aliki and her husband, Franz Brandenberg, also a children's author, have collaborated on many projects together. " Her works are included in the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, and in the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Works by subject:

Selected Works: As author/illustrator--My Five Senses, 1962; The Story of Johnny Appleseed, 1963; The Story of William Penn, 1964; A Weed Is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver, 1965; Keep Your Mouth Closed, Dear, 1966; Three Gold Pieces, 1967; Hush Little Baby, 1968; The Eggs, 1969; Diogenes, 1969; My Visit to the Dinosaurs, 1969; June 7!, 1972; Fossils Tell of Long Ago, 1972; The Long Lost Coelacanth, 1973; Green Grass and White Milk, 1974; Corn is Maize, 1975; At Mary Bloom's, 1976; Wild and Woolly Mammoths, 1977; The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin, 1977; The Twelve Months: A Greek Folktale, 1978; Mummies made in Egypt, 1979; The Two of Them, 1979; Digging up Dinosaurs, 1981; We are Best Friends, 1983; Use Your Head, Dear, 1983; A Medieval Feast, 1983; Feelings, 1984; How a Book is Made, 1986; Dinosaur Bones, 1988; Welcome Little Baby, 1987; Overnight at Mary Bloom's, 1987; Dinosaur Bones, 1988; Manners, 1990; My Hands, 1990; Christmas Tree Memories, 1991; I'm Growing!, 1992; Milk from Cow to Carton, 1992; My Visit to the Aquarium, 1993; The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, 1994; Best Friends Together Again, 1995; Tabby, 1995; Those Summers, 1996; My Visit to the Zoo, 1997; Painted Words: Marianthe's Story, 1998; William Shakespeare & the Globe, 1999. As illustrator only--Cathy Is Company (J. Lexau), 1961; This Is the House Where Jack Lives (J. Heilbroner), 1962; Bees and Beelines (J. Hawes), 1964; One Day It Rained Cats and Dogs (B. Kohn), 1965; Oh, Lord, I Wish I Was a Buzzard (P. Greenberg), 1968; Five Dolls and Their Friends (H. Clare), 1968; At Home (E. Hautzig), 1968; I Once Knew a Man (F. Brandenberg), 1970; Fresh Cider and Pie (F. Brandenberg), 1973; No School Today! (F. Brandenberg), 1975; A Robber! A Robber! (F. Brandenberg), 1976; I Wish I was Sick, Too! (F. Brandenberg), 1976; What can you make of it? (F. Brandenberg), 1977; Nice New Neighbors (F. Brandenberg), 1977; A Picnic, Hurrah! (F. Brandenberg), 1978; It's Not my Fault (F. Brandenberg), 1980; Leo and Emily (F. Brandenberg), 1981; Leo and Emily's Big Idea (F. Brandenberg), 1982; Aunt Nina and Her Nephews and Nieces (F. Brandenberg), 1983; Evolution (J. Cole), 1987.

Works about subject:

Suggested Reading: Children's Books and Their Creators, Silvey, Anita, ed. 1995; Commire, Anne, ed. Something About the Author, vol. 4, 1976; Kingman, Lee and others, comps. Illustrators of Children's Books: 1957-1966, 1968.

Profile of Aliki copyright © H.W. Wilson Company.

Picture Books Author of the Month

(a.k.a. Aliki Liacouras Brandenberg)
3 September 1929 --


Aliki Liacouras Brandenberg was born in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey on September 3, 1929 to James Peter and Stella (Lagakos) Liacouras. Aliki was born when her family was on vacation. She grew up and attended school in Philadelphia and the suburb of Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

Aliki had always been fond of drawing. She drew constantly, attended Saturday classes in art, studied piano, and became aware of music. As a result of her interest, her family was not surprised when she decided to attend the Philadelphia Museum College of Art when she completed high school. She graduated from the school in 1951.

Upon graduation, Aliki found a job with the display department of J.C. Penney Co. in New York. She stayed with this position for a year before returning to Philadelphia to work as a freelance artist in advertising display, mural painter, and a creator of her her own greeting card line. She also taught children's art classes and adult ceramics classes at this time.

In 1956, Aliki spent six months traveling, painting, and sketching in Europe. She was particularly interested in spending time in Italy and Greece. Both of her parents were born in Greece and, as a result, Greek was their first language. She greatly enjoyed discovering her family's heritage as she visited the area.

Aliki's travels had done more than just introduce her to her ethnic background. While she was in Florence, Italy, she met Franz Brandenberg, whom she would later marry. They were married on March 15, 1957 in Berne and settled in Switzerland. While living in Switzerland, she found work as a freelance artist for several Swiss firms.

The Brandenbergs had three children: Jason, Alexa, and Demetria.

Aliki took an opportunity while in Switzerland to visit the territory where William Tell had lived. As a result, the legend of William Tell sparked a great deal of interest for the artist. She used it as the basis for her first book, The Story of William Tell, which was published in 1957.

The Brandenbergs moved to New York City in 1960. At this time, Aliki began illustrating her books. Her interest in William Penn led to another biography at this time, which she entitled The Story of William Penn.

Aliki continued to write and illustrate children's books, both fiction and non-fiction. "Nonfiction needs fascination with a subject, ... an overabundance of reseach, and time to assimilate. The pleasure of these books ... is writing complicated facts as clearly and simply as possible, so readers ... who know nothing about a subject learn a great deal by the time we are finished." [3]

"In the case of biographies, I have to know and love my subject. I find it challenging to find out as much as I can about a person, allowing him to become a part of my life, and then writing in simplest terms the essence of his personality for young children." [3]

"'Fiction' is true. It is a lifetime of experiences, often my children's. I write these books quickly. A word can trigger a story that has been somewhere in my mind for years. It passes from the unconscious to the conscious and then it is released by a blank sheet of paper and pen. I cannot think up an entire story in my head. Writng the words on paper unravels the story." [3]

Aliki has illustrated over 50 books for a number of other children's authors. These authors include Joanna Cole and her husband Franz Brandenberg. In fact, she has illustrated all of her husband's books.

Aliki and her family moved to England in 1977. She still lives there today, where she continues to write and illustrate children's books.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Children's Authors and Illustrators: ALIKI;
2) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #2; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1971.
3) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #35; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1984.
4) USM de Grummond Collection - Aliki Brandenberg Papers;

E-Aliki Best Friends Together Again (1995) -- When Robert's best friend Peter, who moved away, come back to visit, various emotions surface, but mostly pleasure, which all friends share.

E-Aliki Christmas Tree Memories (1991) -- Family members admire the ornaments on their Christmas tree and share memories of previous holidays as evoked by the ornaments.

E-Aliki Feelings (1984) -- Pictures, dialogs, poems, and stories portray various emotions we all feel, such as jealousy, sadness, fear, anger, joy, and love.

E-Aliki Fossils Tell of Long Ago (1972) -- Explains how fossils are formed and what they tell us about the past.

E-Aliki Manners (1990) -- Discusses manners and gives examples of good and bad manners.

E-Aliki A Medieval Feast (1983) -- Describes the preparation and celebration of a medieval feast held at an English manor house entertaining royal guests.

E-Aliki My Feet (1990) -- Brief text and illustrations describe the various parts of the foot and all things feet help us to do.

E-Aliki The Story of Johnny Appleseed (1963) -- Retells the story of John Chapman, whose devotion to planting apple trees made him a legendary figure in American history.

Non-Fiction Titles
J-393.3-ALI Mummies Made in Egypt (1979) -- Describes the techniques and the reasons for the use of mummification in ancient Egypt.

J-394.2-ALI New Year's Day (1967) -- Presents how the New Year was welcomed years ago and the many colorful ways it is celebrated today from Denmark to Madagascar.

J-567.9-ALI Digging Up Dinosaurs (1981) -- Briefly introduces various dinosaurs whose skeletons and reconstructions are seen in museums and explains how scientists uncover, preserve, and study fossilized dinosaur bones.

J-567.9-ALI My Visit to the Dinosaurs (1985) -- A visit to a museum of natural history provides a little boy with an introduction to the habits, characteristics, and habitats of fourteen different kinds of dinosaurs.

J-567.91-ALI Dinosaur Bones (1988) -- Discusses how scientists study fossil remains to provide information about how dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.

J-567.91-ALI Dinosaurs are Different (1985) -- Explains how the various orders and suborders of dinosaurs were similar and different in structure and appearance.

J-633.5-ALI Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians (1976) -- A simple description of how corn was discovered and used by the Indians and how it came to be an important food throughout the world.

J-686-ALI How a Book is Made (1986) -- With easy-to-read text and colorful pictures, Aliki takes her readers step-by-step through the process of writing, illustrating, and constructing a book.

J-792-ALI William Shakespeare and the Globe (1999) -- With a combination of literature, history, biography, archaeology, and architecture readers are introduced to the world of William Shakespeare.

J-92-Franklin The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin (1977) -- A simple biography of Benjamin Franklin emphasizing his contributions to American literature, politics, and science.

Titles Illustrated by Aliki
E-Brandenberg I Wish I Was Sick, Too! by Franz Brandenberg (1976) -- Elizabeth envies her brother the pampered treatment he gets when he is sick in bed. Then, she gets sick, too.

E-BRA/E-P-BRA Nice New Neighbors by Franz Brandenberg (1977) -- The field mouse children find a way to make new friends when they move to a new house.

E-Brandedenberg No School Today! by Franz Brandenberg (1975) -- Two cats get to school so early that they think that there is "No School Today!"

E-Brandenberg A Robber, A Robber! by Franz Brandenberg (1976) -- Positive they heard burglars during the night, a brother and a sister cat wonder what they could have taken since nothing is missing.

E-BRA A Secret for Grandmother's Birthday by Franz Brandenberg(1975) -- A brother and a sister cat plan the secret gifts they will give grandmother cat for her birthday.

E-WRI I Want to Read by Betty Ren Wright (1970) -- Two children share a list of all the things they know and can do now that they can read.

Children's Authors and Illustrators: ALIKI ( -- A brief biography of Aliki can be found at this site as well as a number of links to related activities, games, and a list of works.