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James Houston, 1921-


Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario
Place of residence: Stonington, Connecticut

Bibliography

Artist and author James Houston, the only three-time winner of the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award, received his art training in Canada, France and Japan. He was enrolled in classes at the Ontario College of Art at the age of twelve, when a visit from Group of Seven member, Dr. Arthur Lismer, inspired a life-long fascination with primitive art and culture. Houston traveled to the Arctic in 1948, and stayed there to live and work with the Inuit until 1962. Although he eventually became fluent in Inuktitut, his initial struggles with the language prompted him to use his sketchbook as a means of communication. He made many drawings of the people -- mainly in pen or pencil -- and the Inuit often asked for these sketches to use as decorations in their homes. In turn, Houston's appreciation of Inuit art led him to establish the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative to encourage the promotion and marketing of Inuit sculpture in the rest of Canada and around the world. He also introduced printmaking, a technique he learned in Japan, to Inuit artists. In 1962 he moved to New York where a chance meeting with Margaret K. McElderry (editor of children's books for Harcourt) led to the writing and illustrating of his first children's book Tikta'liktak: An Eskimo Legend (1965). Houston prefers to work in pencil or ink, woodcut engravings or dry point. The bold lines of his illustrations complement the dramatic forcefulness of his text, lending the stories a powerful visual quality. The National Library's holdings include sketches, illustrations in pen and ink and in coloured pencil, and manuscripts for his children's publications. James Houston is an Officer in The Order of Canada.


Awards

1966 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for Tikta'liktak: An Eskimo Legend.
1968 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children Award for The White Archer.
1977 Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work.
1980 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for River Runners.
1981 Vicky Metcalf Short Story Award for "Long Claws" in The Winter Fun Book.
1989 Max and Greta Ebel Memorial Award for Children's Writing for Whiteout.


Selected Bibliography

Books for Children

Akavak: An Eskimo Journey. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longmans Canada, 1968.
75 p.: ill.; 22 cm.

L'Archer blanc: une légende esquimaude. Written and illustrated by James Houston; translated by Maryse Côté. Montréal: Éditions Héritage, 1978.
93 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0777341034
(French edition of The White Archer: An Eskimo Legend)

Black Diamonds: A Search for Arctic Treasure. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982.
170 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042477

Les Casse-cou de la rivière Koksoak. Written and illustrated by James Houston; translated by Claude Aubry. Montréal: Fides, 1984.
167 p.: ill.; 21 cm. (Collection des Mille île)
ISBN 2762112346
(French edition of River Runners)

Drifting Snow: An Arctic Search. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992.
150 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042833

Eagle Mask: A West Coast Indian Tale. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longmans Canada, 1966.
63 p.: ill.; 22 cm.

The Falcon Bow: An Arctic Legend. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.
94 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042523

First Came the Indians. Written by M.J. Wheeler; illustrated by James Houston. New York: Atheneum, 1983.
32 p.: col. ill.; 24 cm.
ISBN 0689502583

Frozen Fire: A Tale of Courage. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.
149 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042493
ISBN 0771042442 (pbk.)

Ghost Paddle: A Northwest Coast Indian Tale. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longman Canada, 1972.
55 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042558
ISBN 077104254X (pbk.)

Ice Swords: An Undersea Adventure. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.
149 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042558
ISBN 077104254X (pbk.)

Kiviok's Magic Journey: An Eskimo Legend. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ontario: Longman Canada, 1973.
39 p.: col. ill.; 27 cm. (A Margaret K. McElderry Book)
ISBN 0774701307

Long Claws: An Arctic Adventure. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981.
31 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0771042566

Matt et Kayak: une aventure du Grand Nord. Written by James Houston; translated by Léo Lack and Robert Fouques Duparc; illustrated by Christophe Rouil. Paris: Stock, 1986.
185 p.: ill.; 17 cm. (Le Livre de poche jeunesse)
ISBN 2253038229
(French edition of Frozen Fire)

Le Passage des loups. Written and illustrated by James Houston; translated by Anne-Marie Chapouton. Paris: Flammarion, 1980.
14 p.: ill.; 17 cm. (Castor poche Flammarion)
ISBN 2081617161
(French edition of Wolf Run: A Caribou Eskimo Tale)

River Runners: A Tale of Hardship and Bravery. Written and illustrated by James Houston. New York, Toronto: Puffin Books, 1992, c1979.
142 p.: ill.; 20 cm.
ISBN 014036093X

Tikta'liktak: An Eskimo Legend. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longmans Canada, 1965.
63 p.: ill.; 21 cm.

Tikta'liktak: légende esquimaude. Written and illustrated by James Houston; translated by Maryse Côté. Montréal: Éditions Héritage, 1978.
67 p.: ill.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0777330156
(French edition of Tikta'liktak: An Eskimo Legend)

The White Archer: An Eskimo Legend. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills Ont.: Longmans Canada, 1967.
95 p.: illus.; 22 cm.

Whiteout. Written by James Houston. Toronto: General Paperbacks, 1991, c1988.
175 p.: map; 18 cm.
ISBN 0773673458

Wolf Run: A Caribou Eskimo Tale. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longman Canada, 1971.
64 p.: ill.; 21 cm.

Books for Adults

L'Art esquimau au Canada. Design and layout by James Houston; photographs by Bert Beaver and the National Film Board. Ottawa: Information Canada, 1971, c1963.
40 p.: ill.; 27 cm.
(French edition of Canadian Eskimo Art)

Art of the Eskimos. Morges, Switzerland: World Wildlife Fund, 1977.
1 portfolio: ill.; 77 cm.
("The Eskimos and their Art" by James Houston: leaf 1)

L'Aube blanche: roman. Written by James Houston. Translated by Léo Lack. Montréal: HMH, 1972.
378 p.; 22 cm.
(French edition of The White Dawn)

Canadian Eskimo Art. Design and layout by James Houston; photographs by Bert Beaver and the National Film Board. Ottawa: Information Canada, 1971, 1964.
40 p.: ill.; 26 cm.

Confessions of an Igloo Dweller. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1996, c1995.
xiii, 320 p.: ill.; 23 cm.
ISBN 0771042868

Eagle Song: An Indian Saga Based on True Events. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983.
362 p.: ill.; 25 cm.
ISBN 0771042582 (bound)
ISBN 0771042574 (pbk.)

Eskimo Graphic Art: 1964-1965 = L'art graphique des esquimaux. Written by James Houston. Ottawa: 1965.
40 p.: ill.; 13 cm.

Eskimo Handicrafts. Written and illustrated by James Houston; translated by Sam Ford and Frederica Woodrow. Montreal: Canadian Handicrafts Guild and the Department of Resources and Development, 1951.
30 p.: ill.; 20 cm.

Eskimo Prints. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Barre, Massachusetts: Barre Publishing, 1967.
10 p.: ill. (part col.); 22 x 27 cm.

Ghost Fox. Written by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.
xii, 302 p.: map; 24 cm.
ISBN 077104240X

Ojibwa Summer. Written by James Houston; photographs by B.A. King. Don Mills, Ont.: Longman Canada, 1972.
96 p.: ill.; 29 cm.
ISBN 082717246X

The Private Journal of Captain G.F. Lyon of H.M.S. Hecla, During the Recent Voyage of Discovery Under Captain Parry, 1821-1823. Written by G.F. Lyon; introduction and illustrations by James Houston. Barre, Massachusetts: Imprint Society, 1970.
xvii, 297 p.: ill.; 31 cm.
ISBN 0876360010

Running West. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1990, c1989.
320 p.: ill.; 18 cm.
ISBN 077104268X

Songs of the Dream People: Chants and Images From the Indians and Eskimos of North America. Edited and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Longman Canada, 1972.
83 p.: col. ill.; 22 cm.

Spirit Wrestler. Written by James Houston. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982, c1980.
277 p.: 18 cm. (New Canadian Library)
ISBN 0771093241

The Unicorn Was There. Written by Elizabeth Pool; illustrated by James Houston. Barrie, Massachusetts: Barre Publishers, 1966.
62 p.: ill.; 21 cm.

The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga. Written and illustrated by James Houston. Don Mills, Ont.: Academic Press Canada, 1983.
275 p.: ill.; 20 cm.
ISBN 0774701358

Whispering in My Ears and Mingling with My Dreams = Légendes susurrées à mes oreilles s'entremêlant à mes rêves. Written by Tivi Etook; design by James Houston; edited by Marybelle Myers. French translation by Lucille Drouin; English translation by Peter Murdoch and Mary Palisar. Saint-Laurent, Québec: Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec, 1975.
44 p.: ill.; 20 x 28 cm.

Original Illustrations and Manuscript Material Available at the National Library of Canada

James Houston fonds, 1965-1988 [manuscript].
20 m.
Writer and illustrator. Connecticut, U.S. and Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C.
Correspondence; articles and lectures; book reviews, profiles; manuscripts, sketches and original illustrations for Tikta'liktak, Eagle Mask, The White Archer, Akavak, The White Dawn, Wolf run, Songs of the Dream People, Ghost Paddle, Kiviok's Magic Journey, Ghost Fox, Frozen Fire, River Runners, Long Claws, Black Diamonds, Eagle Song, Ice Swords, Falcon Bow, Spirit Wrestler; manuscript material or illustrations for works by other authors.
Finding aid available.
No restrictions.


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