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Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech

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Sharon Creech

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  1. Sharon Creech

  2. Ohio-Born Author Sharon Creech was born in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, on July 29, 1945.

  3. Ohio Roots She grew up in South Euclid, Ohio. She lived in this house with her parents (Ann and Arvel), her sister (Sandy), and her three brothers (Dennis, Doug, and Tom).

  4. She often used to visit her cousins in Quincy, Kentucky. She has used this town and her experiences there in many of her books, where she refers to it as Bybanks, Kentucky.

  5. INSPIRATION: She describes her family trips to Kentucky: “. . . we often visited Quincy, where my cousins lived (and still live) on a beautiful farm, with hills and trees and swimming hole and barn and hayloft. We were outside running in those hills all day long, and at night we’d gather on the porch where more stories would be told. “

  6. Future Plans She says: “When I was young, I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a painter, an ice skater, a singer, a teacher, and a reporter. It soon became apparent that I had little drawing talent, very limited tolerance for falling on ice, and absolutely no ability to stay on key while singing. . .

  7. Future Plans . . . I also soon learned that I would make a terrible reporter because when I didn’t like the facts, I changed them. It was in college, when I took literature and writing courses, that I became intrigued by story-telling. . .”

  8. College She received her bachelor’s degree from Hiram College in Ohio.

  9. Post-Graduate Studies She continued to George Mason University in Washington, D.C., for her master’s degree. While in Washington, she married, had two children (Rob and Karin), and was divorced.

  10. Early Career: “Later, I was a teacher (high school English and writing) in England and in Switzerland. While teaching great literature, I learned so much about writing: about what makes a story interesting and about techniques of plot and characterization and point of view.”

  11. England In 1979, she persuaded the headmaster of TASIS (The American School in Switzerland) England School, a grade school for the children of expatriate Americans, in Thorpe, England, to hire her as a teacher of literature. There she met Lyle Rigg, the assistant headmaster. They married three years later.

  12. Adult Family Life Her husband (Lyle Rigg) is now the headmaster of The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey.

  13. Developing Career: Creech says: “I started out writing novels for adults: The Recital and Nickel Malley were both written and published while I was living in England (these books were published in England only and are now out of print).

  14. Developing Career: But the next book was Absolutely Normal Chaos, and ever since that book I have written mainly about young people.” Absolutely Normal Chaos was published in 1990.

  15. Her Other Books: Walk Two Moons—the first of her books to be published in America in 1994 --won the Newbery Medal in 1995 as well as other awards --This is the story of 13-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, from Bybanks, Kentucky, who is traveling across the country to Idaho with her grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of “Phoebe Winterbottom, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.” It began as a follow-up to Absolutely Normal Chaos

  16. Pleasing the Ghost (1996) SUMMARY: This is the story of 9-year-old Dennis, his dog Bo, and a ghost visitor. Dennis has been visited by ghosts before, but this one is his uncle Arvie, who seems to want something and talks strangely, as in: “Fraggle pin Heartfoot a wig pasta.” Dennis unravels Arvie’s words and helps him complete three tasks.

  17. Chasing Redbird (1997) SUMMARY: Zinnia Taylor lives on a farm in Bybanks, Kentucky, with a slew of brothers and sisters. One summer, Zinny discovers an overgrown trail, twenty miles long, which she becomes determined to clear. Along the way, she uncovers mysteries about her family and herself.

  18. Bloomability (1999) SUMMARY: Thirteen-year-old Domenica Santolina Doone (“Dinnie”) is whisked away from her family and taken to a boarding school in Switzerland by her Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy. Although she doesn’t want to be there, she gradually comes to love this new place with its people who’ve come from all over the world.

  19. The Wanderer (2001) SUMMARY: Sophie and her cousin Cody tell, in alternating journal entries, the story of the summer they sail across the ocean from Connecticut to Ireland with a third cousin and three uncles. Sophie also makes up stories along the way about “Bompie,” the grandfather they are traveling to meet. The Wanderer won the Newbery Honor Award in 2001.

  20. Love That Dog (2001) Love That Dog is the story of Jack, his dog, his teacher, and words. The story develops over the course of a school year through Jack’s responses to his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, who wants her students to write poetry. Although he hates poetry at first, he begins to find poems that inspire him. His favorite is a poem titled “Love That Boy,” by Walter Dean Myers. This poem finally gives Jack a way to tell the whole story of his dog. • Hate That Cat followed as a sequel in 2008. < Sharon’s dog, Tia

  21. Ruby Holler (2002) SUMMARY: Ruby Holler is a beautiful and mysterious place, deep in the country. An older couple, Tiller and Sairy, live there and are looking for new adventures, each of them hoping to set off on a trip. When they invite the “trouble twins,” Dallas and Florida, to join them, all of their lives take new turns. Ruby Holler received the 2002 Carnegie Medal.

  22. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup (2003) SUMMARY: This is the story of Granny Torrelli, her 12-year-old grand-daughter, Rosie, and Bailey, the boy next door. The friendship of Rosie and Bailey has its ups and downs, but Granny’s wit and experience help them smooth out the kinks.

  23. Heartbeat (2004) • SUMMARY: Heartbeat (told in free verse) is the story of 12-year-old Annie, who loves to run for the sheer pleasure of running. It’s when she feels the most free in a year when everything seems to be shifting. Her mother is pregnant, her grandfather is aging, and her best friend, Max, is increasingly moody. Everything is changing, just like the apple that Annie has been assigned to draw one hundred times.

  24. Replay (2005) Summary: Twelve-year-old Leo has a talent for transforming the everyday into the extraordinary. That’s why they call him fog boy. He’s always dreaming, always replaying things to his brain. He fantasizes about who he is in order to discover who he will become. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, Leo is eager to find out what part will be his.

  25. The Castle Corona (2007) • Set in feudal Italy, this story tells of a sheltered, slightly ridiculous royal family and Pia and Enzio, orphaned peasant children from the nearby village. Pia and Enzio are appointed as royal food tasters, for purposes linked to a stolen pouch found by the children early on. The novel deals with themes from wisdom to empathy to the fate-changing power of story. • Illustrated by David Diaz

  26. The Unfinished Angel (2009) SUMMARY: In an old stone tower high in the mountains of Switzerland lives an angel with an attitude. The angel is annoyed with “peoples” and unsure of her (his?) mission. When a colorful American girl, Zola, arrives, she challenges the angel, and figs start flying. Together Zola and the angel rescue a band of orphans, reawaken the sleepy village, and explore what it means to be a “peoples” and to be an angel.

  27. Sharon Creech has also written picture books for younger children: • Fishing in the Air (2000)—inspired by her time spent vacationing at lakes in Wisconsin • A Fine, Fine School (2001)—inspired by her husband’s career as a headmaster • Who’s That Baby (2006)—a collection of short poems and songs—inspired by her granddaughter Pearl

  28. Writing Style Mrs. Creech often imbeds serious topics into her stories, including such themes as independence, trust, childhood, adulthood, and death, often using humor to soften them. She also varies her writing style. Books such as Love That Dog and Heartbeat were written in verse, whereas others like Ruby Holler and Walk Two Moons are in a narrative style.