Verna Aardema was born Verna Norberg Aardema Vugteveen on June 6, 1911, in New Era, Michigan. She always loved books and by the age of eleven had decided to be a writer. However she had little time for reading or writing as a child, as she was 3rd of 9 kids, and was expected to spend most of her time helping with the younger ones.

When she got an A on a poem at school, her mom realized Verna might have some sort of develop-able writing talent. Verna's great-grandfather had been a poet, and Verna was encouraged to follow his example. She spent hours in the swamp near her house, thinking up stories.

Verna went to Michigan State, where she studied journalism and won numerous writing contests. After graduation she began teaching elementary school, and married a man named Albert. She gave up teaching temporarily, hoping to write full-time, but her husband was jealous of the men in the stories she'd written in college.   "I tore up the most offensive manuscripts, and with them tore up my desire to write."   She went back to teaching.

Verna did write for the Muskegon Chronicle, but it would be years before would write anything creative again. One day, her daughter began refusing to eat without a story, "and she could make a scrambled egg last all the way through Little Red Riding Hood."   Verna made up a whole routine of "feeding stories," and eventually wrote them down and published them.

Her stories were often set in Ashantiland or the Kalahari, because she tended to read about Africa. Tales From the Story Hat, her first collection, was published in 1960, and was very successful. No word on whether her idiot husband was jealous of the hat.

Verna continued to adapt and retell folktales from many different cultures. In the early 70s, Albert died, she retired from teaching, married a nicer man named Joel, and became the full-time storyteller she'd dreamed of being, at age eleven. She has two kids, four grandkids, and is very very happy.


Anansi Does the Impossible!

Anansi Finds a Fool

Bimwili and the Zimwi

A Bookworm Who Hatched

Borreguita and the Coyote

Koi and the Kola Nuts

The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks


Oh, Kojo! How Could You!

Pedro and the Padre

Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water

Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion

Sebgugugu the Glutton

This for That

Traveling to Tondo

Who's in Rabbit's House?

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

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