“I’m surprised sometimes that I’ve written anything. And the school librarian took a special interest in me. She encouraged me by saying that someday I should write for children. It seemed like a good idea.”
Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library! After graduation from the University of California at Berkeley, Mrs. Cleary entered the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington, Seattle. She was Children's Librarian in Yakima, Washington, until she married Clarence Cleary and moved to California. The Clearys are the parents of twins, now grown. Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 1983. Her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books.
Born April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, OR;
Education: Chaffey Junior College (Ontario, CA), A.A., 1936; University of California--Berkeley, B.A., 1938; University of Washington--Seattle, B.A. (librarianship), 1939.
Addresses: Home: Carmel, CA. Agent: c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Children's Books, 1350 6th Ave., New York, NY 10019.
"I see pictures. . . . I have no idea whether this is the usual way of writing stories, still less whether it is the best. It is the only one I know: images always come first."
Clive Staples Lewis, or Jack Lewis, as he preferred to be called, was born in Belfast, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) on November 29, 1898. He was the second son of Albert Lewis, a lawyer, and Flora Hamilton Lewis. In 1916 Lewis was accepted at University College, the oldest college at Oxford University. Soon after he entered the University, however, Lewis chose to volunteer for active duty in World War I, to serve in the British Army. After the war he remained at Oxford for 29 years before becoming a professor of medieval and renaissance literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1955. He is the author of works for both children and adults. He is best known for the Narnia series he wrote for children. The Narnia books have since sold more than 100 million copies and are among the most beloved books of classic children's literature.
Birth: November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland
Death: November 22, 1963 in Oxford, England
Christopher Paul Curtis
“To me the highest accolade comes when a young reader tells me, ‘I really liked your book.’ The young seem to be able to say ‘really’ with a clarity, a faith, and an honesty that we as adults have long forgotten. That is why I write.”
Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body Plant #1. His job entailed hanging car doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles—particularly big Buicks. Curtis’s writing—and his dedication to it—has been greatly influenced by his family members, particularly his wife, Kaysandra. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930's bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer. Christopher Paul Curtis made an outstanding debut in children’s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.
Born: Flint, Michigan, May 10, 1953
Education: University of Michigan--Flint, B.A., 1996.
Addresses: Home: Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Agent: c/o Author Mail, Delacorte Press, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036-4094. E-mail: email@example.com.
“Sailors...say the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society - things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed.”
E. B. White (1899-1985) was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from Cornell University. His work appeared for many years in The New Yorker magazine. He received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his children's books Charlotte's Web, a Newbery Honor Book, and Stuart Little. The Trumpet of the Swan also won several awards. Mr. White, the author of seventeen books of prose and poetry, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.
Born July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, NY
Education: Cornell University, A.B., 1921.
Memberships: National Institute of Arts and Letters, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), American Academy of Arts and Letters, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Gamma Delta.
Gail Carson Levine
"I wrote as a kid, but I never wanted to be a writer particularly. I had been drawing and painting for years and loved that. And I meditate, and one time when I was meditating, I started thinking, "Gee Gail, you love stories-- you read all the time. How come you never tell yourself a story?"
Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and has been writing all her life. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. She is also the author of three other Princess Tales books: The Fairy's Mistake, The Princess Test, and Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep. Today Gail, her husband David, and their Airedale Jake, live in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse in Brewster, New York.
Born September 17, 1947, in New York, NY;
Education: City College of the City University of New York, B.A., 1969.
Addresses: Home and Office: Tonetta Lake Rd., Brewster, NY 10509. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd., 10 Astor Pl., New York, NY 10003. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When I was growing up, I dreamed about becoming a cowgirl, a detective, a spy, a great actress or a ballerina. Not a dentist, like my father, or a homemaker, like my mother -- certainly not a writer, although I always loved to read. I didn't know anything about writers. It never occurred to me they were regular people and that I could grow up to become one, even though I loved to make up stories inside my head.”
Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places, doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Superfudge; Blubber; Just as Long As We’re Together; and Forever. More than 75 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. Judy lives on islands up and down the East Coast with her husband George Cooper, who writes nonfiction. They have three grown children and one incredible grandchild.
Born: 12 February 1938, in Elizabeth, New Jersey
Education: B.S. in education from New York University in 1961
Home Address: Judy Blume c/o Tashmoo Productions
1841 Broadway, Suite 711A
New York, N.Y. 10023
“When I write, I sometimes stop and cup my hands, as if I am drinking water. I try; I want desperately to capture the world, to hold it for a moment in my hands."
Kate DiCamillo is "short. And loud," as she admitted on her website. Though she had trained to become an author, prior to 2000 DiCamillo had only published a few adult short stories in magazines. She worked in Minneapolis for The Bookman, a book distributor, in the children's department. It was during this time in Minneapolis, while she was missing the warm weather of Florida where she had spent much of her life, that DiCamillo began her first novel. Jennifer M. Brown, who interviewed the author for Publishers Weekly, reported: "This is what happened: she was just about to go to sleep when the book's narrator, India Opal Buloni, spoke to her, saying, 'I have a dog named Winn-Dixie.' DiCamillo says that after hearing that voice, 'the story told itself.' Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book after its publication, and three years later, The Tale of Despereaux was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal.
Born: March 25, 1964, in Merion, PA
Education: University of Florida, B.A., 1987
Addresses: Home: 2403 West 42nd St., No. 3, Minneapolis, MN 55410
“If you are a writer you are also an observant person. All writers are. And when you observe something, your imagination begins to play. Suppose you see a child crying, in an airport. No big deal. But if you are a writer, you start to think: what if that child is being kidnapped? Or: I wonder if that child is in pain; maybe he has appendicitis, and his parents don't know it. And then you get on your flight, and you never see the crying child again, but the ideas stay there, in your imagination...”
Lois Lowry was born March 20, 1937 in Hawaii to Robert and Katharine Hammersberg. Her father was an Army dentist and the family lived all over the world. She attended Brown University, but left after her sophomore year to get married and raise a family of four children. They settled in Maine, where she returned to college and received her degree from the University of Southern Maine. Lois Lowry fulfilled a childhood dream when she began writing in the mid-1970s. Now divorced, she lives in West Cambridge with her dog, Bandit, and spends weekends in her 19th century farmhouse in New Hampshire.
Born March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, HI
Education: Attended Brown University, 1954-56; University of Southern Maine, B.A., 1972; graduate study.
Addresses: Home: 205 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Harold Ober Associates, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017.
“I enjoyed school and was a good student, but it wasn't until high school that I really became an avid reader. J.D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut were the authors who first inspired me. Some of my other favorite authors include E.L. Doctorow, Margaret Atwood, E.B White, Richard Price and Kazuo Ishiguro.”
Louis Sachar was born in East Meadow, New York, moved to Southern California when he was nine, and now lives in Austin, Texas. Louis' first book for children, Sideways Stories from Wayside School was accepted for publication during his first week of law school. Although Louis graduated and passed the bar exam, he opted to be a full-time writer for children rather than a lawyer. Louis met his wife, Carla, when he was a visiting author at a school in Texas. She was a counselor at the same school. They have a daughter, Sherre. Louis likes to play chess, cards, ski, play the guitar (and sing loudly), but mostly he likes spending time with Carla and Sherre.
Born: East Meadow, New York, 20 March 1954. Education: University of California, Berkeley, B.A. 1976; University of California, San Francisco, J.D. 1980.
Address: c/o Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 201 E. 50th St., New York, New York, 10022, U.S.A.
“When you’re writing a book, with people in it as opposed to animals, it is no good having people who are ordinary, because they are not going to interest your readers at all.”
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He first began writing in 1942, and although for the first fifteen years of his career he wrote short stories for adults, he is most well-known for his children's books. His first book, James and the Giant Peach, had its roots in bedtime stories for his daughters. Several years later, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published, which became a success, and his successive children's books were all bestsellers. Several of his children's books have been made into movies, the classic being Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and the later 2005 version Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Given name is pronounced "Roo-aal";
Born September 13, 1916, in Llandaff, South Wales;
Education: Graduate of British public schools, 1932.
Military/Wartime Service: Royal Air Force, fighter pilot, 1939-45; became wing commander.
“I write for children because I am interested in fantasy and the possibilities for experience of all kinds before the time of compromise. I believe that children are far more perceptive and wise than American books give them credit for being.”
Natalie Babbitt, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, is a writer and illustrator of award-winning children's books. During her childhood, she spent most of her time drawing and reading fairytales and myths. Her mother, an amateur landscape and portrait painter, gave Natalie art lessons. She grew up wanting only to be an illustrator, studying art at Laurel School in Cleveland and at Smith College. In 1966, Natalie and her husband collaborated on a children's book called The Forty-ninth Magician -- he wrote it and she illustrated it. With encouragement from their editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Natalie continued producing children's books even after her husband became too busy to write the stories. Tuck Everlasting won the American Library Association's Notable Book Award and the Christopher Award for juvenile fiction in 1976.
Born July 28, 1932, in Dayton, OH
Education: Smith College, B.A., 1954
Addresses: Home: 26 Benefit St., Apt. 4, Providence, RI 02904; and 63 Seaside Ave., Dennis, MA 02638. Office: 81 Benefit St., Providence, RI 02904.