Zena B. Sutherland

1915 -

Author, Educator, & Reviewer


Zena Sutherland
Zena Sutherland is is one of the best-known reviewers of children's literature. From 1958 until 1985, she was the sole reviewer and editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.  Zena Karras was born on September 17, 1915, in Winthrop, Massachusetts.  She received both her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1937 and 1966 respectively.  She married Roland Bailey on December 19, 1937, but in 1961 their marriage ended.  Four years later, she married Alec Sutherland.  She had originally trained to become a medical librarian but an elective in children's literature drastically altered her plans.  In 1957, the editor's position at the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books suddenly became available and she was offered the position.  The Bulletin was supposedly one of Frances Henne's inspirations.  Zena Sutherland decision to accept the position positively influenced the development of the field of children's literature.  During the early part of her career, she also wrote a monthly column called "Books for Young People" for the Saturday Review, a task she performed for six years.  

Photograph from Something About the Author (Commire, 1985, p. 184).

  • Received Phi Delta Kappa Award, 1973
  • Received Phi Lambda Theta Award, 1974
  • Received an award from Children's Reading Round Table, 1978
  • Zena Sutherland Lecture established in her name, University of Chicago, 1983
Selected Works
  • Children and Books, 4th edition, illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak, Scott, Foresman, 1972 - Phi Delta Kappa Award & Phi Lambda Theta Award
  • The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children's Literature, Scott, Foresman, 1976
  • The Best in Children's Books: The University of Chicago Guide to Children's Literature, University of Chicago Press, 1980
  • The Orchard Book of Nursery Rhymes, Orchard, 1990
  • Carlson, A. D. (1996, Spring). Zena Sutherland: Reviewer, teacher, and author. Library Trends, 44 (4), 776-793.
  • Commire, A. (Ed.). (1985). Sutherland, Zena B(ailey). In Something about the author (Vol. 37, pp. 182-184). Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company.

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Last Modified: May 6, 2002