I got my first library card when I was four – my six-year-old sister had taught me how to read! From then on, I brought home books by the armload, and I also tried my hand at writing. I was very proud when I won a prize for a poem in the AMERICAN GIRL magazine at age eleven.
I never stopped writing, but it wasn’t till much later, after I was married with two little daughters, that I decided to make writing my profession. I began jotting down ideas for children’s books and stories, and then I wrote an entire book, A FAIRY CALLED HILARY. It didn’t get published for almost twenty years, but I didn’t let that stop me – I just kept on writing.
In 1988, THE ALEXANDRA INGREDIENT (Crown), my first published novel, was released, as well as my non-fiction book, COPING WHEN A PARENT HAS CANCER (Rosen). Other books and stories followed, some of which won awards or were translated into other languages—French, Italian, Swedish, and German. My latest publications are A DIFFERENT KIND OF PASSOVER (Kar-Ben, 2017), BEST FRIENDS PRETEND (Scholastic Cartwheel, 2014), THE ELIJAH DOOR (Holiday House, 2012), and PRESCHOOL DAY HOORAY! (Scholastic Cartwheel, 2010).
I still love both writing and reading, so it’s not surprising that one of my favorite things is to see someone happily reading my books. One third-grader, whose teacher read A FAIRY CALLED HILARY to her class, told me how much fun it was to laugh with her friends at Hilary’s adventures. That’s exactly what a writer wants to hear!
I’m a perfectionist, so I do a lot of crossing out and re-writing. After one school visit, a student sent me a letter that said, “Dear Mrs. Strauss, Before you came I thought writing was neat and easy. Now I know it’s hard and messy.” And that boy was right: Writing is hard and messy, but fortunately it’s also fun and challenging and magical and thoroughly satisfying – except on days when I get rejection letters!
I live with my husband in Wyoming, Ohio, and I write on the top floor of our tall, skinny house. If you want to ask me questions or tell me what you think of my books, you can
. Chances are I’ll be at my computer to get your e-mail!