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Katharine Holabird

Biography

Katharine Holabird

Katharine Holabird grew up in an artistic household in Chicago, the second of four daughters. As a child, she lived in an imaginary world of fairy tales, princesses and ballerinas, and loved to perform and dance with her sisters.

Annual invitations to attend the ballet with her grandmother made a deep impression. “As a young child I was thrilled by Cinderella, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker," Katharine remembers. Katharine was an avid reader who loved fantasy and tales of heroic animals. "I also loved the secret world of books," says Katharine, "and was delighted to discover I could create characters of my own."

After graduating from the Francis Parker School in Chicago, Katharine attended Bennington College in Vermont. She received a B.A. in Literature from Bennington in 1969, and then worked as a literary editor at the college for a year. The following year she went to Italy, where she became a free-lance journalist. In 1974, Katharine married and moved with her husband, Michael Haggiag, to London, England. In London, Katharine continued to write and also worked as a nursery school teacher until the birth of her first daughter, Tara, in 1976. Another daughter, Alexandra, was born in 1979, and a son, Adam, was born in 1983.

Katharine was already the mother of young children when she created Angelina Ballerina in 1983. “Tara and Alexandra loved to dress up and dance around the house together, just as I loved dancing with my sisters when we were children. My daughters were passionate about pink tutus and ballet lessons, and I was struck by all the daily drama of their lives, both in and out of ballet class. The courage and determination it takes to be a small performer impressed me, as did all the emotional upheavals that take place behind the scenes. Although he was a boy, my son Adam loved to copy his sisters in a comical way, and was brilliant at play-acting. Adam was the inspiration for Angelina’s adorable little cousin, Henry.”

Katharine wrote the first draft of ANGELINA BALLERINA at the kitchen table with her daughters twirling around her. “I thought about all the young children who are thrilled by performing and dancing, just like my daughters, and sat down to write about a small star with enormous dreams. Before long, the impulsive and highly emotional character of Angelina leapt onto the page.”

Along with her passion for the limelight, Angelina's feisty character is familiar to many children, Katharine believes, “Angelina is highly sensitive like many young children. She easily loses her temper and bursts into tears, and then she struggles to get over it and apologize.”

“Nobody is perfect,” Katharine continues, “Children are familiar with Angelina’s outbursts and emotional upheavals because they experience exactly the same feelings themselves. But no matter how hard Angelina may struggle with her conscience, they know she’ll always try to do the right thing in the end.”

Katharine Holabird

Books by Katharine Holabird

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina is feeling very grown-up. Miss Lilly has asked her to help out in the beginners’ ballet class. So Angelina gives away her babyish toys, including the little rag doll she’s had since she was a tiny mouseling. But what happens when Angelina starts missing her doll? Is it too late to get her back?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Supernatural

For the first time ever, Angelina is visiting the most famous city in Mouseland: the Big Cheese! She can’t wait to explore the city and perform her fairy ballet. But her cousin Jeanie tells Angelina that tap dancing is much better than ballet. How can the two girls overcome their differences and learn to work together in time for the big show?

written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina has been invited to a wedding at the summer palace of Mouseland. What could be more exciting?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina Ballerina is the winner of two tickets to a ballet! Who will she choose to take with her? The answer can be found in the six envelopes inside this book!

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Miss Lilly is having a party, and Angelina wants to look very special. So she borrows her mother’s special locket without asking. Angelina has so much fun at the party, but when it is time to leave, she can’t find the locket! What will Angelina do?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

Angelina and Henry visit the Royal Palace of Mouseland to help teach the princesses a special ballet for the King and Queen's wedding anniversary. To Angelina's horror, Miss Lilly is confined to her bed with a terrible cold and Angelina is asked to be in charge. When she finds the 'perfect' princesses squabbling in the ballroom, she realizes they are just like other mouselings and loses her nerves. She soon teaches them to be magic fairies and the ballet is a great success.

written by Katharine Holabird, illustrated by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

Come along as Angelina spins, twirls and dances her way through Miss Lilly's ballet class. With instructions for each step, little girls can learn to dance just like Angelina!

written by Katharine Holabird with illustrations by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

When Angelina finds an injured butterfly in the park, she takes it home to care for it...then doesn't want to part with it.  It's Henry who sets an adventure in motion that underscores a message all young children can understand.

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Holiday, Performing Arts

Angelina loves dancing with her friends and spending time with her family. Find out what else Angelina loves in this charming book!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina and her grandparents are traveling by boat to the Mouseland Dance Festival! Angelina can't wait to perform, and she's so busy practicing her steps that she has little time to help her grandparents with all the work that needs to be done on board. When she disobeys her grandmother and ruins her festival costume, Angelina is devastated --- until Grandma shows her what it truly means to be the star of the show.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Uncle Louie takes Angelina and Henry on a camping trip in the Big Cat Mountains. They are both very excited but they soon learn it's hard work climbing a mountain trail and setting up a camp. When Uncle Louie tells them to gather firewood they wander off into the woods to play. Before long Angelina and Henry are lost and it's starting to get dark and stormy!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina's parents tell her she's going to have a baby sister. Hooray! Angelina can't wait! But after Polly arrives, Angelina is jealous of all the attention her new baby sister is getting. No one seems to notice Angelina at all anymore. Read this charming tale about what happens in the family when a new baby is born, and how her parents and grandparents help Angelina to know that she's still special, too.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Everyone in the village is getting ready for Christmas. Angelina's mother is baking and decorating, and Angelina is helping. When they decide to take a tree and presents to old Mr. Bell's house, Henry doesn't want to go. He's in tears because he wants to see Father Christmas. How can Angelina and her parent's help Henry learn what the real spirit of Christmas is all about?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina can't wait for spring to come so she can go to the May Day Fair. When the big day comes Angelina wants to go with her friends, but she's angry when her parents make her drag little cousin Henry along. They ride the Ferris Wheel and the roller coaster, but Henry is scared of going so high and so fast. Angelina decides that Henry would enjoy the Haunted House, but while they're inside Henry disappears! What will Angelina do now?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

When Angelina and Alice meet at school they become fast friends. They both were really good at doing all kinds of tricks except for one thing. Angelina couldn't do a handstand now matter how hard she tried. Soon the other children were pointing and giggling and Alice is too! Angelina is so hurt and embarrassed she begins to cry. Who will be her partner now in gym class?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina just loves to twirl and leap and dance all day. But she loves dancing so much it's getting her into trouble, too. She doesn't want to clean her room or go to school, and she's always bumping and jumping into things and breaking them. Mr. and Mrs. Mouseling don't know what to do with her. Then Mr. Mouseling comes up with a plan --- ballet school!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina decides to enter a bike race just before her birthday with her best friend Alice. But when she has an accident, her bike gets broken. She's really down in the dumps, so her mother suggests she find a way to earn some money for a new bike. Angelina works hard and saves up her money, but little does she know that her birthday is about to be even more special than she had imagined!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina and her friends are making plans for the New Year's Eve celebration. They are putting on an ice-skating show for the village, so they have to practice hard. When a couple of boys from school start teasing the ballerinas during rehearsal, everyone is upset. But leave it to Angelina to come up with a great idea for having the boys work on the show with them, so it will become a huge success.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Henry just loves to go to his cousin Angelina's ballet class and pretend to be a dancer. He doesn't do the steps quite right, but he still enjoys himself. One day the teacher, Miss Lilly, tells Angelina she gets to be a magic fairy in a musical. Angelina is thrilled until she learns that Henry is going to be in the show too.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Miss Lilly's Ballet School is invited to perform for the Princess. Angelina was hoping to be the star, but Miss Lilly puts her into a minor role instead. See how Angelina makes the best of things and helps all the performers to shine!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina loves dressing up to go trick-or-treating, and this year she and Alice have decided to be dancing fireflies. Her little sister Polly wants to go with them, so Mrs. Mouseling makes her a little ghost costume. As they dance from door to door they're joined by Spike and Sammy who dare them to go inside a big, empty, spooky house. It's pretty scary, but they all make it back out. Or do they?