Gail Gibbons is definitely one of our favorite nonfiction picture book authors. Regardless of the topic, if your child is interested in apple trees to sea turtles, Gail probably has a wonderful and informative book on the topic. She has written and illustrated over 140 books for children.
Although nonfiction authors often don’t receive the big awards fiction authors attract, Gail was given the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Award in 1987, and in 2010 was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association for significant contributions to children’s literature.
Even better, if you go to her website, you can buy Vermont Maple Syrup made by Gail Gibbons. Maybe that’s why her books are so sweet!
Here are the answers from last week’s trivia questions. Today I’m going to link the author’s name to their primary website and add an Amazon widget of a selection of their books. Please let me know if this is helpful or not.
Each of authors today came to writing by a different path.
Question 10.Let’s start off with a visual clue. Do you recognize this author? Her book won a Newbery Medal in 2002.
The photograph is of Linda Sue Park. In addition to winning the Newbery Medal for A Single Shard, she also has many other award-winning books.
Linda Sue Park grew up in Illinois, where she took to writing at an early age. She published her first work, a haiku, at the tender age of nine! Being the daughter of Korean immigrants has influenced her work, both in her choice of characters and topics.
Our favorite is Project Mulberry, because we have raised silkworms ourselves. In this unusual book, the author and the main character have conversations about writing.
Question 11.Do you know of an author who has written many adventure books based on happenings in his own life. He has participated in the famous Iditarod dogsled race, and has written an autobiographical book about his experiences with sled dogs (for young adults).
The author says of himself, “Gary Paulsenis adventure.” After having the kind of life most boys only dream about, Paulsen writes that he decided to become a writer quite suddenly. He was working in a technical field and literally walked away to start writing.
It was the right choice, because now he has written over 175 books, including three Newbery Honor books. Hatchet is probably his most famous, about a boy who gets stranded in the wilderness. My Life in Dog Years is the autobiographical book about his adventures with sled dogs. It includes the tale of Cookie the dog who saved his life.
Question 12.This author says he failed high school classes and needed tutoring in writing and reading. After struggling for years, he finally got a book published. Now this one-name superstar gives writing advice to others.
How many children’s authors go by one name? Avi, of course.
Avi has been quite upfront about his struggles to write, including having a learning disability. Regardless of the obstacles, he decided to become a writer in his senior year of high school. Although it took years, he has been able to overcome his difficulties and write many books. Crispin: The Cross of Lead won a Newbery Medal in 2003.
These are three very prolific, very different and very inspiring authors.
Here are the answers to last week’s trivia questions.
Question 7. This author obtained a law degree and practiced law for nine years in order to finance his true passion, writing. On the way to his degree, he did a stint as a “yard teacher.” Who used this experience to write a successful series of books?
Louis Sachar was the author who turned his experience as “Louis the Yard Teacher” into the popular Sideways Stories from Wayside School series, featuring guess who, Louis the Yard Teacher. The stories are wacky, but speak to how people can get caught up within a school culture.
Question 8.Following in his father’s footsteps, this author won the Newbery medal only two years after his father won for his own book. Watch what you write about him, he founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to English. Who is this author and grammar watchdog?
Okay, I made this one pretty tough. Paul Fleischman won the Newbery Medal for his book Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices in 1989, two years after his dad, Sid Fleischman won for The Whipping Boy in 1987. Talk about keeping it all in the family.
Question 9.This author credits her bittersweet childhood growing up poor in West Virginia as a source of material for her books. She felt it was both a curse and a gift. Who is this versatile children’s book author?
This was the toughest of all. Would you believe it is Cynthia Rylant, award-winning author of every type of children’s book imaginable?
For more info, check her biography at the Educational Book & Media Association.
Question 4. What author was inspired to write is book about an island when he made a map of an imaginary island to entertain his stepson? He said, “It was elaborately and (I thought) beautifully coloured…as I pored upon my map of …the future characters of the book began to appear there visibly among imaginary woods;…”
Zann was absolutely right, this is a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson, talking about what inspired him to write Treasure Island. I thought the spelling of “coloured” might be a useful hint.
Question 5. This beloved children’s author produced many detailed watercolor illustrations of fungi early in her career and would have considered a career in science if she hadn’t been discouraged by others. Who was this budding mycologist turned author?
Eilonwy and Pann both got this one correct. Beatrix Potter studied fungi, but was disappointed after the results of her first paper were discounted. Later she was proved correct, but by then she was a famous children’s book author.
Question 6. Who spent her early childhood in China and four years in Japan, before taking up writing? (Two of her books were given Newbery Awards.)
The tricky question last week was about Katherine Paterson, author of Newbery Medal winners Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved. She also wrote the Newbery Honor book, The Great Gilly Hopkins. For more about Katherine Paterson, check her website and this video.