“When I was growing up I loved reading historical fiction, but too often it was about males; or, if it was about females, they were girls who were going to grow up to be famous like Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, or Harriet Tubman. No one ever wrote about plain, normal, everyday girls.” – Kathryn Lasky
Lasky, who was born on this date in 1944, grew up in Indianapolis where she was encouraged to become a writer by her mother at an early age “because of my vivid imagination.” While she didn’t start writing early, she got very interested in it while an undergrad at the University of Michigan, majoring in English and studying any type of writing that was offered. She combined that love with a love of kids, earning an advanced degree in early childhood education.
To date, her writing career, which began at a magazine but then was “on hold” while she taught school, has produced over 100 books of all types, but many of them written for children. Among her numerous awards is the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature.
“I can read a newspaper article, and it might trigger something else in my mind,” she said about what inspires her diverse writing repertoire. “I often like to choose historical fiction things or subject matter I don't feel have been given a fair shake in history.” Lasky’s latest “hit” is the 2017 historical fiction Night Witches, based on women pilots from the Soviet Union’s WWII 588th Night Bomber Regiment.
“To me,” she said, “the most important thing is to tell a good story. If I can do that, I think that enlightenment, respect of nature, etc. follows.”
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