Louise Walker Borden, 1971
B.A., Denison University
Citation awarded May, 2002
Louise Walker Borden, or Leezie, is an award-wining author of children’s books who devoted much of her professional life to talking with children about reading and writing. On graduating from Denison in 1971, she spent several years as a teacher and later was a co-owner of an independent bookstore.
Leezie seeks the most meaningful topics for her books, including important historical events, such as is depicted in The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue of Dunkirk, and tragic realites, such as in Good Luck, Mrs. K!, about an adult teacher who suffers from cancer. Her first book, Caps, Hats, Socks, and Mittens, was translated in the 1990s into fourteen languages for use in White House-sponsored early-learning programs. Since the late 1980s, Leezie has visited nearly 400 schools to conduct writing workshops with thousands of children. During visits, Leezie would show how she develops an idea into a book, and then helps the children get started on their own writing projects, instilling the habits of re-reading, re-writing, and polishing one’s work.
The New York Times, School Library Journal, Publishers’ Weekly, and Booklist are among the publications that have reviewed Leezie’s books. In 1996, she received a Parent’s Choice Award for The Little Ships and in 2000, Smithsonian Magazine named her book, Sleds on Boston Common, a “Smithsonian Notable book of the Year.” Earlier in 2000, Good Luck, Mrs. K! received a Christopher award, which is presented to writers whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” Other recognitions of her work include the Book of the Month Club Selection, the Junior Literary Guild Selection, the Reading Magic Award, and the Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies. Leezie has several books forthcoming, and has just published America Is…, a children’s celebration of our nation’s diverse people and land. She publishes with McElderry Books of Simon & Schuster.
A volunteer within her community, Leezie has donated time in inner city as well as rural classrooms and has been involved in literacy projects with at-risk children. She has received the Goodall Distinguished Alumni Award from the Seven Hills School, and a SilverGertie Award from Miami University. At Denison, Leezie has volunteered for admission work and as a career advisor and panelist.
Leezie and her husband Peter, class of 1969, live in Cincinnati and have three grown children.