Natalia Maree Belting

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General Information

Name: Natalia Maree Belting

Pen Name: Natalia Belting

Genre: Non-Fiction & Fiction

Born: July 11, 1915 in Oskaloosa, Iowa

Died: December 17, 1997

Illinois Connection

  • Natalie has lived in Urbana most of her life.

Biographical and Professional Information

In writing books for children, Belting consistently drew on her extensive knowledge of folklore. A professor of history at the University of Illinois for many years, she was particularly interested in the French colonization of North American and the hisory of Indians in Illinois.

Natalia wrote more than twenty works for children, including Pierre of Kaskaskia and In Enemy Hands, as well as the weekly column “Illinois Past” for the Champaign News-Gazette and other central Illinois newspapers.

Natalia Maree Belting received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1936, and went on to earn a master's degree and Ph.D. in American history (1940) from the same institution. She taught history at her alma mater from 1942 until her retirement. She became an associate professor in 1973, and retired as a full professor.

She studied and wrote about the history of Native Americans and early French colonizers in Illinois. This research formed the basis of her first children's book, Pierre of Kaskaskia, as well as her third book, In Enemy Hands. Indy and Mr. Lincoln, and Verity Mullens and the Indian were also based on historical incidents. For the most part though, Belting adapted myths and folktales for young readers. Focusing on a single theme, such as "little people" (Elves and Ellefolk) or the sun (The Sun Is a Golden Earring), Belting usually included ten to twenty myths from around the world.

In 1962, The Sun Is a Golden Earring, with illustrations by Bernarda Bryson, was a Caldecott Medal honor book. Throughout her adult life, Belting was active in community affairs, and preached occasionally at Presbyterian churches. As of 1996, she was a professor emerita and still living in Urbana, Illinois.

Published Works

  • Kaskaskia Under the French Regime, 1940
  • The Sun is a Golden Earring, 1962
  • The Calendar Moon, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1964
  • The Earth Is On A Fish`s Back, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1965
  • The Stars are Silver Reindeer, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1966
  • Folk Tales Around the World, 1968
  • Christmas Folk, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1969
  • Winter`s Eve, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1969
  • Summer`s Coming In, Holf, Rinehart & Winston, 1970
  • The Land of Taffeta Dawn, Dutton, 1973
  • Our Fathers Had Powerful Songs, Dutton, 1974
  • Whirlwind is a Ghost Dancing, Dutton, 1974
  • Moon Was Tired of Walking on Air, Houghton/Mifflin, 1992

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

Calendar moon,

ISBN: 0030156513
Release Date: 1964

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The earth is on a fish's back;: Tales of beginnings,

ASIN: B0007DS9U8
Release Date: 1965

The Stars Are Silver Reindeer

ISBN: 0030556554
Release Date: 1966-06

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Christmas Folk

ISBN: 0030723752
Release Date: 1969-06

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Winter's Eve

ISBN: 0030829313
Release Date: 1969

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Summer's coming in,

ISBN: 0030842506
Release Date: 1970

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The Land of the Taffeta Dawn

ISBN: 0525333800
Release Date: 1973

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Our Fathers Had Powerful Songs,

ISBN: 0525364854
Release Date: 1974-04

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Moon Was Tired of Walking on Air

ISBN: 0395538068
Release Date: 1992-09-24

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Literary Awards

  • Awarded Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English in 1979.
  • In 1962, The Sun Is a Golden Earring, with illustrations by Bernarda Bryson, was a Caldecott Medal honor book.

External Links

Natalia Maree Belting on WorldCat

Natalia Maree Belting on Amazon


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