Barbara Cooney

"Miss Rumphius," my favorite book about travel, was written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney in 1982. You seldom find it in the travel sections at libraries, though, because it is a children's book about a woman born in Brooklyn at the end of the last century who travels, by herself, all over the world. Miss Rumphius, named after a 17th century Dutch naturalist, climbs mountains, crosses jungles and deserts and makes friends wherever she goes -- Bapa Raja, for example, the ruler of a village on the Indonesian island of Ambon, who gives her a beautiful shell and tells her, "You will always remain in my heart." -- Susan Spano Read more: In the footsteps of 'Miss Rumphius,' an inspiration to solo women travelers Photo: Brooklyn Heights, Cooney's birthplace
Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
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