P.D. Eastman

Philip Dey (P.D.) Eastman knew the Pioneer Valley well. Born in Amherst in 1909, he grew up here with his family, attending both Williston Academy in Easthampton and Amherst College* (one of the stops on this tour). He walked down these streets, looked at the same mountains you can see from Amherst College, and he may even have read books at the newly opened (1919) Jones Library. 

After a long career in film, P.D. Eastman moved back to the East Coast and decided to write books for children, like his friend Dr. Seuss. You might know some of his books, like Go, Dog. Go! and Are You My Mother? Most of his books have animal characters. What is your favorite animal?

Like other authors on this tour, P.D. Eastman made movies before he wrote books. He moved to Los Angeles in 1936 to work for Disney, making some of their earliest cartoons. He even made cartoons for the United States Army during World War II with one of his good friends, Dr. Suess. After the war, he continued making cartoons with political significance, including one supporting integration for the United Auto Workers Union. This film, The Brotherhood of Man, got him in trouble with the government,** but he stood up for what was right.


*Collins, Chloe. “Biographical Information.” Are you my Mother?, 2015. https://areyoumymotherbook.weebly.com/biographical-information.html.

**Nel, Philip. “Children’s Literature Goes to War: Dr. Seuss, P. D. Eastman, Munro Leaf, and the Private SNAFU Films (1943–46).” The Journal of Popular Culture 40, no. 3 (2007): 468–87. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2007.00404.x.