Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Kathryn Aalto


Region: British Isles
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:


Kathryn Aalto is a writer, designer, historian and lecturer. For the past twenty-five years, her focus has been on places where nature and culture intersect: teaching literature of nature and place, designing gardens, and writing about the natural world. She is the author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015) and Nature and Human Intervention (2011).

Kathryn grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California, surrounded by peach, walnut and almond orchards. She was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, Western Washington University, the London College of Garden Design and the University of Bristol from which she received a Bachelor’s in English, a Master’s in English, a Diploma in Garden Design and a Master’s in Garden History. She is a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, the Garden History Society, the Garden Writers Association and the Society of Garden Designers (pre-registered). She is working on her third book and contributes articles to Devon Life on gardening and natural history. She lives in Devon, England with her family.

With interests in the arts and sciences, she has taught biology, critical thinking and American Literature of Nature and Place at a range of places including U.C. Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, the English Department at Western Washington University, and Everett Community College. In 2015, she was appointed Adjunct Lecturer at Exeter College where she teaches “Your Place in the World” and other nonfiction, nature writing and literature courses.

Presentation Description:

Format: 1-hour presentation including 15 min Q&A. 

Join Kathryn Aalto for a journey into one of the most iconic settings in children's literature: the Hundred Acre Wood, a real place in East Sussex, England called Ashdown Forest. It is where A. A. Milne lived and set the tender adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. Learn about Milne's extraordinary childhood and how he an illustrator E. H. Shepard became the Lennon-McCartney of classic children's literature. A landscape historian, designer and writer, Kathryn will present a lively, visually-rich talk and describe how the books are a field guide for the free range child, a hymn to those days of doing nothing yet learning everything.