All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Non-Fiction Monday Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw by Deborah Kogan Ray

by | Feb 23, 2009 | Blog | 3 comments

wandagagthegirlwholivedtodrawAs part of the Children’s Literature Book Club, I am reading several of the Cybils finalists for the month of February and will try and post reviews of as many of the books that I can.

When I first started to read this book I was a little skeptical at first because I just wasn’t getting into the story. However, by the end of the book, I feel in love with Wanda Gag and her passion for drawing. In fact I got a little teared up while reading her story. She wrote and illustrated what is considered the first modern picture book Millions of Cats.

Wanda Gag was talented artist who would not let personal crisis, tragedy and poverty get in the way of her dream. What really made me fall in the love with the book was how she achieved her dream and at the same time took care of her family. Her father, an artist died leaving a widow with seven children and Wanda helped to make sure each child finished high school and at the same time she pursued her passion for art. Using her talents to help support the family.

Deborah Kogan Ray does an excellent job of combining Wanda’s Diary with her own words to add more details to this inspirational story. I can definitely see why this was a Cybils Nominee.

This is my favorite quote

I can’t help it that I’ve got to draw and paint forever; I cannot stop; I cannot; cannot, CANNOT. . . . I have a right to go on drawing….And we are all going though high school.

Deborah Kogan Ray’s website

I’m not sure I have the same passion as Wanda and I definitely have not had to deal with such hard things as loosing my parents and raising my siblings, etc.  I do have a passion for books, obviously, but I wonder how far I would go to keep my passion going. What are you passionate about and how far would you go to keep following your dreams?


  1. jama

    Thanks for featuring this book today! I’d heard about it and was curious to know more.

  2. Britt

    I’m passionate about books too. I’ve often wondered what I would do if there was a fire. Once the kids are out, my husband might have to hold me back to keep me from going after the books!

  3. caribookscoops

    jama – It’s a wonderful story – thanks for stopping by

    Britt – Please don’t go back in! I’d be willing to help replace your books and I hope I don’t ever have to do that. I’m passionate, but I don’t think that passionate.


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