SARATOGA SPRINGS – Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Bruce Hiscock, who died aged 80 earlier this month, has left an indelible mark on the community of Saratoga, perhaps most notably at the library Saratoga Springs Public.
The walls in the kids’ section feature whimsical murals of woodland creatures including foxes and owls, all painted by Hiscock. Beyond the paintings, Hiscock also served on the board and board of directors of the library for many years and was instrumental in the library’s move in the 1990s from Broadway to its current location. on Henry Street.
“The community was very lucky to have him at that time… with the building of the library, with his talents and his enthusiasm. I would say he was quite a driving force, ”said Ken Bollerud, who served on the board with Hiscock.
According to his obituary, Hiscock grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, although he spent two years with his family in Shemya, a remote island in Alaska and spent many hours outdoors in the wilderness while throughout his childhood. He then attended the University of Michigan and then Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate. in chemistry. He worked as a researcher, then as a professor at Utica College. In Saratoga Springs, he ran a racehorse drug lab for nine years before leaving the field to write and illustrate picture books.
His books, including “The Big Tree”, “The Big Rock” and “Ookpik: The Travels of a Snowy Owl”, among many others, are research-based and focus on educating young readers on the subject. natural world.
Much of his research has come from his travels, and some of his books have been directly inspired by his adventures. As his obituary notes, “On a trip to northeast Alaska, he found himself hiking in the midst of a huge herd of caribou, which resulted in ‘The Big Caribou Herd : Life in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ”.
He also shared his experiences with local students through the Saratoga Springs Public Library programs. During one particular program, the library welcomed third-graders from the city’s school district and invited local authors to come and talk about their work. Hiscock has been the featured author on several occasions and, according to librarian Jennifer Ogrodowski, “he would tell them about his travels and show them pictures of caribou and then have them do a drawing exercise. He was really wonderful with them.
His books have been named Outstanding Science Trade Books by the Children’s Book Council. “The Big Storm” won the 1993 John Burroughs Award for Best Children’s Natural History Book. “Ookpik: The Travels of a Snowy Owl,” was a finalist for the New York State Charlotte Award.
He was a self-taught artist and musician, often singing and playing the guitar with friends. In true Renaissance style, he also built his house at Porter Corners by hand, using the rocks and trees of the property.
“[He was] a great guy all around, loved by everyone he met. He had a bit of a dry and sharp sense of humor, he was a great artist; willing to do anything in the service of the community and the library, ”said Saratoga Springs Public Library Director A. Issac Pulver.
One of Ogrodowski’s favorite memories of Hiscock was that during the holidays he entered the library with bells.
“So every time he walked you would hear bells,” Ogrodowski said. “He was such a smart and kind human being, but he also had that playful side, which was really cool to see.”
“He was just very excited about life; a very good conversationalist; definitely a strong supporter of the library and its role in the life of the community, ”said Bollerud.
Hiscock is survived by his wife, Helen Dickerson, and two children, according to his obituary.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Art, News, Saratoga County