Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Cornelia Maude Spelman  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction




Illinois Connection

Cornelia has lived in Evanston since 1981.

Biographical and Professional Information

Cornelia is the author of a memoir and nine picture books for young children. She is a diarist, and her diaries are archived at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard. A former clinical social worker, she is interested in contributing to the understanding of emotions and emotional legacies in families and in the preservation of personal histories.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

After Charlotte's Mom Died
ISBN: 0807501964

Albert Whitman & Co. 1996

A sensitive and helpful story discusses the fearful and uncertain feelings of a six-year-old child after the sudden loss of her mother and the ways in which she and her father are taught to deal with the situation through the help of a therapist.

Your Body Belongs to You
ISBN: 0807594733

Albert Whitman & Company. 1997

In simple, reassuring language, the author explains that a child's body is his or her own

that it is all right for kids to decline a friendly hug or kiss, even from someone they love

and that you can still be friends even if you don't want a hug now.

Mama and Daddy Bear's Divorce (Albert Whitman Prairie Books (Paperback))
ISBN: 0807552224

Albert Whitman & Company. 1998

One sad day, Mama and Daddy Bear say they are getting a divorce. Daddy won't live at home anymore. Dinah is scared and sad. She wonders if she'll ever see Daddy again.

When I Feel Angry (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807588970

Albert Whitman & Company. 2000

Anger is a scary emotion for young children, their parents, and caregivers. As this little bunny experiences the things that make her angry, she also learns ways to deal with her anger--ways that won't hurt others.

When I Feel Sad (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807588997

Albert Whitman & Company. 2002

Readers will recognize similiar experiences in their own lives as this little guinea pig describes feeling sad when someone is cross or when something bad happens. Eventually our heroine realizes that feeling sad doesn't last forever.

When I Feel Good about Myself (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807589012

Albert Whitman & Company. 2003

This book offers children positive and upbeat examples about being themselves. The author portrays a very young guinea pig and friends feeling good about themselves through common situations readers will relate to.

Book Details:

  • Format: Paperback
  • Publication Date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 24
  • Reading Level: Age 3 and Up

When I Feel Jealous (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807589020

Albert Whitman & Company. 2003

A bear cub describes situations that make her jealous: when someone has something she wants, when someone is good at something she wants to be good at, and when someone else gets all the attention.

When I Miss You (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807589039

Albert Whitman & Company. 2004

Young children often experience anxiety when they are separated from their mothers or fathers. This title features a young guinea pig who expresses her distress when her mother and father go to work or on a trip. She learns ways to be comforted, and that her parents will return.

Book Details:

  • Format: Board Book
  • Publication Date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 16
  • Reading Level: Age 4 and Up

When I Feel Scared (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807589004

Albert Whitman & Company. 2002

Children often feel afraid. This book, with its comforting words and illustrations, will help children address those fears and learn some new ways to cope with being afraid.

When I Care about Others (The Way I Feel Books)
ISBN: 0807588989

Albert Whitman & Company. 2002

In this simple book, the author begins by helping children see that when they are sick, hurt, or unhappy, others care about them. Children can then begin to see that others need to be cared about as well.

Missing: A Memoir
ISBN: 0810127121

Northwestern University Press. 2010

Acclaimed children’s book author Cornelia Maude Spelman’s memoir of her family springs from a meeting and subsequent friendship with the late, legendary New Yorker editor William MaxwellIn the 1920s, he and her parents had been friends as undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Spelman hints at what she thinks of as the failure of her parents’ lives, he counters that “in a good novel one doesn’t look for a success story, but for a story that moves one with its human drama and richness of experience.”

At their final meeting, Maxwell encourages her to tell her mother’s story. Missing is Spelman’s response to Maxwell’s wisdom. With the pacing of the mystery novels her mother loved, and using everything from letters and interviews to the family’s quotidian paper trail—medical records, telegrams, and other oft-overlooked clues to a family’s history—Spelman reconstructs her mother’s life and untimely death. Along the way, she unravels mysteries of her family, including the fate of her long lost older brother.

Spelman skillfully draws the reader into the elation and sorrow that accompany the discovery of a family’s past. A profoundly loving yet honest elegy, Missing is, like the woman it memorializes, complex and beautiful.



Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank St. College 2003, When I Feel Sad

Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank St. College 2003, When I Feel Scared

Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank St. College 2003 When I Care About Others

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2005, When I Miss You

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2000, When I Feel Angry

Bernard de Voto Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction Award at Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, 2011Cornelia was honored at the 2004 Illinois Author Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.