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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Helping make sense of a teen's world


“If I can write a book that will help the world make a little more sense to a teen, then that's why I was put on the planet.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

An American writer best known for children's and young adult novels, especially the book Speak, Anderson is celebrating her 55th birthday today.

A journalist first, Anderson began her career as both a freelance writer and a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer in the early 1980s.   In the mid-1990s she began creative writing aimed at young adults.  After self-publishing a couple, her book Speak not only was accepted by a major publisher but also hit the 1999 New York Times bestseller list. The book – a portrayal of a 13-year-old sexual assault victim who loses her ability to speak after the attack – won the Golden Kite award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.   The book has been translated into 16 languages and made into a major motion picture.
It also opened the door to Anderson’s further writing    
 for young adults and she has had numerous hits since.  Her 2000 book Fever 1793 was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Junior Library Guild selection, and 2009’s Chains was a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.  That same year she was selected for the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her ongoing contribution to young adult literature. 

She said her appeal to young adults is creating characters with which teens can identify. “That can be the most painstaking aspect of being a teen, figuring out what the world really looks like.  If you find someone in a book, you know you're not alone and that's what's so comforting about books.”




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