Children's Authors/Sharon Creech
Sharon Creech was born in Ohio, July 29, 1945. She learned to tell stories in her big, noisy family. (Harris, p 10) She was a very active child and spent a lot of time outdoors. Sharon loved to climb trees, stating “half my childhood [was spent] up a tree.” (Newbery Speech, 1995) She also loved to read and write, and play-act stories. In the summer of 1957, when she was 12, her family took a trip to Idaho. This trip, claimed Sharon, “inspired and enriched” her view of the world. (Newbery Speech, 1995)
After Sharon graduated from high school, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature and Writing from Hiram College, and went on to earn a Master's Degree in the same field, from George Mason University. Sharon moved to England in 1979, to teach literature at the England campus of the American School in Switzerland (TASIS). She began writing in 1986, after the death of her father. She won the Newbery Award in 1995, for Walk Two Moons. In 2003, she was the first American to win the Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler. She was the first author to win both awards.
Many of the characters in Sharon's books resemble her family members and friends. Many of the stories are inspired by real life experiences. Sharon's novels “usually feature young teenagers who are dealing with difficult issues about family life and personal identity. Yet she lightens such serious subjects with humor and sensitivity.” (Harris, p 13)
Sharon Creech has some advice for young writers: “Read a lot. Read anything and everything you want to read. All of that will fall into...a well that you will use when you write a story.” (Harris, p 18)
Books of Interest
Walk Two Moons, 1994. Newbery Award Winner. Many of the elements in this story are from Sharon Creech's life...the journey to Idaho, the farm of her grandparents in Kentucky, and the Native American connection. This book was criticized as being too realistic for children. (Olsen p 16) It tells the story of a young girl dealing with abandonment and her search for acceptance; which we see as a familiar theme for Sharon Creech. It is suitable for upper elementary students. The conflicts are satisfactorily resolved in the end.
Pleasing the Ghost, 1996. This book is a quick and easy read. It is considered a “sensitive, funny, engaging story about emotional loss.” (Harris, p17) It is suitable for upper elementary students; and contains some mystery, adventure, and humor.
The Wanderer, 2000. A Newbery Honor Book. There are two narrators in this tale, and their accounts vary to the point the reader begins to wonder what is really happening. “Which is the most reliable narrator?” provides good classroom discussion. This story has mystery, adventure, and light romance. As in many of the novels by Sharon Creech, family relationships are explored, and a young teen seeks to find herself. "The Wanderer" was inspired by a similar voyage across the Atlantic made by Creech's daughter.
A Fine, Fine School, 2001. Illustrated by Harry Bliss, is the tale of what happens when academic pursuits become the sole focus of the principal of Fine Elementary. A brave young girl gives the principal some very wise advice, and things begin to improve. There is a life lesson in this book for educators and parents. Ms. Creech uses repetition to build suspense. The illustrations are delightful, particularly the student's expressions. We can see them working hard in school; and as the book progresses, we see their expressions change to confusion and doubt. There is a happy ending – Elementary students will appreciate this book.
Love That Dog, 2001. This story was inspired by the poem “Love That Boy”, by Walter Dean Myers. Are you teaching a unit on poetry? This book will inspire your students to read more poetry; and perhaps even try writing some of their own. Full of feeling and humor, students will connect with loving a pet (especially a dog) and the pain of loss.
Ruby Holler, 2002. Winner of the Carnegie Medal (top award for children's literature in the U.K.) "Ruby Holler" is set in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Dallas and Florida, orphans, are sent to live with an older couple in Ruby Holler. The story is of learning to trust, and to accept love. There is mystery and adventure, and the Creech theme of finding oneself.
Replay, 2005. This novel is written almost like a play (the chapters are called scenes); and it flits from one scene to another, with almost no transition. Leo, a dreamer, is searching for his place in the family and in life. We see the familiar Creech theme.
Hate That Cat, 2008. The sequel to "Love That Dog," this book continues the next school year for Jack with the same teacher. Jack enjoys the poetry again, and we see the growth in Jack. Again we enjoy the humor and strong feelings. We receive additional insights into Jack's life.
Castle Corona, 2007. A story with a castle, a king, a queen, a princess, and two princes. Plenty of mystery in this story. Who is the hermit? Who is the thief? Who are the two peasant children, and what is their connection to the castle? Castle Corona is an interesting tale, and explores class distinction and personalities within families. Sharon Creech weaves a story of intrigue and delight. Have you ever wanted to be a prince or a princess? Find out what life is like in a castle, read "Castle Corona."
Sharon Creech's website: Sharon Creech's Website
Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. (Newbery Award) Harper Collins. 1994
Creech, Sharon. Pleasing the Ghost. Harper Collins. 1996
Creech, Sharon. The Wanderer. (Newbery Honor) Harper Collins. 2000
Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog. Harper Trophy. 2001.
Creech, Sharon. A Fine, Fine School. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. Harper Collins. 2001
Creech, Sharon. Ruby Holler. Harper Collins. 2002
Creech, Sharon. Replay. Harper Collins. 2005
Creech, Sharon. Castle Corona. Harper Collins. 2007.
Creech, Sharon. Hate That Cat. Harper Collins. 2008
Creech, Sharon. Newbery Medal Acceptance. Horn Book Magazine. Jul/Aug 1995. Vol. 71 Issue 4, p418-425.
Harris, Laurie Lanzen, Ed.; Abbey, Cherie D., Ed. Biography Today: Profiles of People of Interest to Young Readers. Author Series, Volume 5. 1999. Full text from ERIC.
Kirch, Claire. A New Moon for Sharon Creech. Publishers Weekly. 4/19/2004. Vol 251 Issue 16 p26
Olsen, Renee and Randy, Meyer. Columnist Slams Newbery Winner for Being “Too Realistic”. School Library Journal. June 1995. Vol 41 Issue 6 p16.
Rigg, Lyle D.; Self, Matthew. Sharon Creech. Horn Book Magazine. Jul/Aug 1995. Vol. 71 Issue 4.
School Library Journal. Interview – Sharon Creech. Sept 2001. Vol 47 Issue 9 p21.
School Library Journal. Short takes- Sharon Creech Wins Carnegie Medal. Aug 2003. Vol 49 Issue 8 p20.