Image of Ruth Stiles Gannett


Lifetime: 1923 -




United States

Ruth Stiles Gannett

Ruth Stiles Gannett Kahn is an American children's writer best known for My Father's Dragon and its two sequels collectively sometimes called the My Father's Dragon or the Elmer and the Dragons series or trilogy.

Gannett graduated from City and Country School in Greenwich Village, New York City, in the class of 1937. There, she recalled in 2012, "she benefited from being 'allowed and encouraged to write for fun' at certain times of the day". She then attended the George School and Vassar College, graduating with a B.A. in chemistry in 1944.

After graduating from Vassar, Gannett moved to Boston where she worked at Boston General Hospital and then at the Massachusetts Radiation Laboratory. She then worked at a ski lodge, and afterward returned to live with her parents which is where she completed work on her most defining work. In 1947 the year her seminal work was published she married Peter Kahn.

Gannett's first novel, My Father's Dragon, was published by Random House in 1948 and was a runner-up for the annual Newbery Medal recognizing the year's "most distinguished contribution" to American children's literature. She wrote two more novels in that series, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. The books were illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett, her stepmother, and the typography was designed by her husband, H. Peter Kahn. They have been translated into fourteen languages.

Gannett wrote two other short children's novels, The Wonderful House-Boat-Train  and Katie and the Sad Noise illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg and Ellie Simmons.

Kirkus Reviews covered two of the books briefly, showing disappointment in both Gannett's and Eichenberg's work on the house-boat-train and unusual enthusiasm for Gannett's story in a starred review of The Dragons of Blueland.

Ruth Gannett married artist, art history professor, and calligrapher H. Peter Kahn . The couple had seven daughters and eight grandchildren at the time of Kahn's death. She lives near Trumansburg, New York, near Cornell University, where Peter Kahn was employed for forty years. She is the great-granddaughter of Ezra Stiles Gannett.

Books by Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Father's Dragon Cover image

My Father's Dragon

Adventure Fairy Tale
Animal Dragon Nature Myths Wildlife Legends Wild West

The novel is about a young boy, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon.