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Now about the author:
First published as part of an interview conducted by Cynthia Leitich Smith for her popular blog Cynsations. Reading the entire interview at http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2007/03/author-interview-sharron-l-mcelmeel-on.html
Sharron L. McElmeel on Sharron L. McElmeel:
"There is not a lot to tell. My life has been rather simple and uneventful to this point. I grew up in the heartland of the United States and found myself reading over and over again the stories of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson--those were the only two books I ever remember reading in any of the large farm homes where I lived. The nearby towns did not have libraries and our elementary school had but one book shelf--far from filled and with all the books able to be facing out.
"But like Fern in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web I do remember bringing in runt pigs to warm by the oil heater, feeding them with an eyedropper and later a bottle. On warm spring days, my sister and I galloped our horses to the far corner of our farm, spread a blanket and put out the sandwiches and lemonade from our 'saddlebags,' and then we would settle in to read the afternoon away in the corner of an old stone pioneer's cabin--remnants of the early settlers in the area. On hot summer days, my two brothers, sister, and I would disappear down the cowpath to the creek on the back forty (forty acres of land at the back of the farm) and dogpaddle our way across the stream--back and forth, and splash one another until time to call the cows for milking. In the winter, we all trudged two miles to school in the nearby small town. My childhood was rather idyllic but not so long ago as it might seem, just very rural.
"I was born, raised and still live in my home state of Iowa. Iowa has become the popular starting off location for several books in the past few years:
* the Takeshima family left Iowa to go to Georgia (Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata)(author interview);
* Hattie Brooks left Iowa to homestead in Montana (Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson);
* Maude and Sallie Marche disguise themselves as boys and escape (from Cedar Rapids, Iowa) to Missouri (The Misadventures of Maude Marche by Audrey Couloumbis);
* And Delicious, her parents, and seven siblings leave Iowa to settle in Oregon -- taking their fruit trees (including the red delicious apple tree which originated in Iowa) with them (Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson).
"I share a birthday (September 13) with the late Roald Dahl, Mildred D. Taylor, Else Minarik and James Howe. Robert Kimmel Smith and I are all chocoholics.
"My family now includes children (six spirited individuals) much like the Herdmans from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. And my grandchildren would be very much at home in Serafina Sow's Waffery (The Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellogg) as they love waffles (and pancakes) as much as her large family.
"Iowa is a wonderful place to raise a family, it's high on education, and low on pollution and other ills of society. I live on an acreage clinging to the edge of a very small town--a little larger than the population 100 town of my youth, but in the shadows of the second largest city in the state--Cedar Rapids. "
Sharron L. McElmeel is the author of many books delving into the world of books for young readers. Authors in the Pantry: Recipes, Stories, and More (Libraries Unlimited, 2007) is a companion to her earlier title Authors in the Kitchen: Recipes, Stories, and More (Libraries Unlimited, 2005). Her many reference works are core titles in many public and school libraries. Those titles include: Children's Authors and Illustrators Too Good to Miss: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies (Libraries Unlimited, 2004) and a literature-based book on Character Education (Character Education: A Book Guide for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents (Libraries Unlimited, 2002)). Many Young Adult Literature courses use the frequently updated, Young Adult Literature and Multimedia: A Quick Guide (Hi Willow, 2013), a text she co-authored with David Loertscher and Betty Wrenn-Estes, and The Best Teen Reads (Hi Willow, 2013). She also edited the Author and You series published by Libraries Unlimited. A complete list of her publications is available on her website at http://www.mcelmeel.com/writing
Her research papers compiled over more than thirty years of researching and writing about authors and illustrators are not housed in her alma mater's special collections - at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. A guide to the Sharron McElmeel papers is available at http://collguides.lib.uiowa.edu/?MsC0991.