More About the Author
Jean Van Leeuwen is the author of more than fifty children's books, including picture books, Easy-to-Read books, and middle-grade fiction. She has won numerous awards, among them the William Allen White Award, the South Carolina Children's Book Award, the Massachusetts Honor Book Award, and the Washington Irving Children's Choice Award, as well as many ALA Notable Book citations. Her popular Oliver and Amanda Pig Easy-to-Read series was called "timeless as the truths of childhood" by the New York Times. Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day was a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.
Her own two children were the inspiration for the Oliver and Amanda Pig stories, as well as several others, including Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life. Many of her other books have grown out of her long-time interest in American history. Her historical picture books include Going West, which was cited as an IRA Teachers' Choice and Across the Wide Dark Sea, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing." She has written historical fiction for older readers as well. Her Bound for Oregon was a Child Study Association Book of the Year, and Cabin on Trouble Creek was nominated for children's Choice awards in eight states.
Ms. Van Leeuwen grew up in the small town of Rutherford, New Jersey. She was an avid reader as a child, reading every book she could get her hands on, from Nancy Drew to The Wind in the Willows. At one point, while trying to convince her parents to buy her a dog, she read nothing but dog stories for a whole year. (She got the dog, but when she moved on to horses, her parents refused to cooperate.) Eventually she began writing her own stories, which she illustrated with cut-outs from magazines.
After graduating from Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism, Ms. Van Leeuwen found a job in the children's book department of a New York City publisher. She remained a children's book editor for many years, an experience with inspired her to once again start writing her own stories. Her first book, Timothy's Flower, was published in 1967, and she has been writing and publishing ever since.
Ms. Van Leeuwen now lives in another small town north of New York City with her husband, Bruce Gavril. She has two grown children, David and Elizabeth, and a young grandchild, who will surely inspire more stories.
Visit Ms. Van Leeuwen's website at www.jeanvanleeuwen.com