Storytelling school

Winfield author imagined ‘storytelling through the eyes of a child’

In 2013, children’s book author Jennifer Bartoli-Kalina recalled how, at a meeting of authors, “I sat next to Alzina Stone Dale, who was rocking in an antique chair in front of a fire. ardent and told us about a biography she had written about a supposedly obscure English author. Ignorant, I kept my mouth shut and went home to meet GK Chesterton in an old book of poetry.

Ms. Bartoli-Kalina later became the local group leader of the Midwest Chesterton Society, whose members discuss and read books, primarily those of Chesterton, who was also a writer, philosopher, and literary and art critic. The local group meets at the Centuries & Sleuths bookshop in Forest Park.

Ms Bartoli-Kalina, also a former board member of the Society of Midland Authors, died of cancer on October 18 at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield. She was 77 years old.

She had started feeling ill about five weeks before her death, her husband, Daniel Kalina, said.

Mrs. Bartoli-Kalina, a longtime resident of the western suburb of Winfield, is the author of “Snow on Bear’s Nose: A Story of a Japanese Moon Bear Cub” (Albert Whitman & Co., January 1, 1977); “The Story of the Grateful Crane” (Albert Whitman & Co., January 1, 1977); “Nonna” (Harvey House, January 1, 1975) and “In a Meadow, Two Hares Hide” (Gakken Co Ltd., 1978).

Her family recalled that she was an avid reader and enjoyed travel, theatre, music, cooking and gardening.

Mrs. Bartoli-Kalina was born on May 13, 1945 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She grew up on Chicago’s North Shore, Michigan and Australia. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was an active member of the former Children’s Reading Roundtable. She was also an Oblate Benedictine from Saint-Procope in Lisle.

She received her love of writing and literature from her father, who was an English professor at the University of Michigan, her daughter, Amelia Hanrahan, said.

Hanrahan also recalled when she was taking a reading comprehension test in elementary school, one of the selections she had to unexpectedly read and answer questions from was from her mother’s book ‘Nonna’. . Hanrahan said she passed this part of the test, in part because her mother often read to her and her brother, Pietro, from her books.

Ms. Bartoli-Kalina was a successful children’s writer because she “embraced imagination and frivolity, and it was easy for her to imagine storytelling through the eyes of a child,” Hanrahan said. “Much of her writing could be described as very precise, pastoral and motherly – not quite feminist but a lingering theme nonetheless.”

Lincolnwood children’s book author Charlotte Herman said: ‘I met Jennifer at a children’s reading roundtable dinner in the early 1970s. She was super friendly, warm and sweet. We instantly became friends. After that first dinner, we attended most of the CRRT and Society of Midland Authors events together.

“We celebrated Jennifer’s two books that came out at that time: ‘Snow on the Bear’s Nose’ and ‘Nonna’, a tender story about the death of a grandmother. Jennifer also wrote poetry. She had the heart of a poet, the soul of a poet.

“One day Jennifer decided we should write a book together. So we created “The Beginner’s Guide to Social Climbing”. We actually wrote a few chapters and received positive feedback from an editor. But we were never able to finish the book, because every time we got together we had tea and biscuits and giggled at what we wrote.

Ms Bartoli-Kalina was predeceased by her first husband, Peter Bartoli. She is also survived by one sister, Alison Mutter, and six grandchildren.

Services took place.