About the Author

 
 

Karen Beil rhymes with orange peel.


I was born in Massachusetts, grew up in Connecticut, and had to learn to spell difficult state names right at the start. So it was with great relief that I moved to New York (easier to spell and still close to New England).


Over the years our home has been home or home-away-from-home to various dogs, hamsters, fishes, turtles, frogs, and a cat. Last winter bluebirds moved into the house outside my studio window. The “for-rent” sign went back up in the spring when they finished the holly berries and moved out. Days later, a pair of wrens moved in to raise their chicks.


I’ve been writing all my life, except a couple years in the beginning when I thought crayons were a food group (proteins, carbohydrates, and crayola). Mid-way through elementary school after considerable struggle, I caught my love of reading—and puppets—from my mother, a school librarian. My parents were introduced by two children’s book illustrators—their sisters! My father, at 96, recited poetry and had a ready supply of jokes, stories, and witticisms.


By the time I went to college, I wanted to read all the time. So I majored in English literature and magazine journalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism. After graduating, I wrote articles about fires, murders, and robberies, and interviewed judges, firefighters, police officers, and even a notorious con man as a reporter for Chicago’s legendary City News Bureau. This was a wire service, a one-city version of the Associated Press, where many writers including Kurt Vonnegut got their hard-knocks start as cub reporters (we were called the “City News kids”). It’s where I learned to read upside down, ask tough questions, and meet deadlines.


Since then, I’ve been an editor, science writer, magazine freelancer, publications director, and now I write for my most favorite audience—children. I love to create books that bring kids and their families together talking, playing, laughing, and learning and, of course, reading.


 

The Children’s Literature Connection is an organization in upstate New York that works to strengthen the connections between the creators of children’s books and the people who put them into the hands of children.


Started in 1998 by Jennifer Armstrong, Lynn Blankman, and Karen Beil, who enlisted an enthusiastic, talented, and hard-working group of children’s book lovers: teachers, librarians, writers, and illustrators. (Poster design Sylvie Wickstrom)

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Copyright © 2008 Karen Magnuson Beil. All rights reserved.