Cornelia Maude Spelman, MSW,  was a therapist with children and families before turning full-time to writing and art. She’s written eleven books for children that help them manage emotion and difficult life situations.  Her The Way I Feel series of books for young children, described by reviewers as “sensitive” and “compassionate,”have sold over a million copies and been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Arabic, Turkish, Danish, and Russian.  She also wrote a picture book, Everybody’s Somewhere, which invites young readers to think about where others are in our world and our connections to one another. (Photo, above, at a 2013 Cleveland Children’s Museum exhibit, “I Feel,” featuring her books.)

Cornelia’s memoir, Missing (to be reprinted in paperback in 2022 by Jackleg Press about her mother and the emotional legacies in her family, has been called “memoir writing at its absolute finest” (Alex Kotlowitz, author, There Are No Children Here)

Cornelia’s great-grandmother and mother

Cornelia has earned awards from the Illinois Arts Council, was a finalist for the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction award from Salem College, and was awarded the Bernard De Voto Fellowship in Nonfiction at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. 

A daily diary writer for many years, Cornelia is currently writing Volume 246. Her diaries, those of her mother, and personal papers and photographs of her grandmother and great-grandmother and other family members are archived at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University. “The library’s manuscript collections and books document women’s lives and women’s issues currently and retrospectively. Especially well represented are suffrage and women’s rights, social reform, family history, health and sexuality, work and professions, culinary history, and gender issues.” (Schlesinger Library’s description of itself) .

Hear an interview with Cornelia about the importance of emotion:

A mother and grandmother, Cornelia lives with her husband, writer and professor Reginald Gibbons, just outside Chicago.