grew up in a family enamored with the theater. Along with her five
brothers and sisters she spent summers in a summer stock repertory
company in a small mountain town in Colorado that was run by their
mother (costumer, cook, accountant, and resident psychiatrist) and
their father (artistic director). Lawlor's father liked to joke that
she "spent kindergarten under the piano." She says, "I was the only one
with stage fright. I preferred the back stage, where I shook the sheet
metal to simulate thunder for storm scenes or helped paint rubber
chickens for props.
Coming from a theatrical family with a highly
developed imagination gave Lawlor some advantages. She soon learned
that if she wanted some peace and quiet, she could simply invent
terrifying stories bout characters who happened to inhabit the family's
home. In this way Lawlor was able to convince her gullible younger
brothers and sisters to stay out of the attic or suffer the wrath of
Evil Pan. In this clever way Lawlor acquired her first studio. There
she was able to write and read and "nobody," she says, "dared bother
According to Laurie Lawlor, her "very first
characters were strange and fabulous creatures who haunted the attic of
my first childhood home -- a run-down two-flat on a busy street in
LaGrange, Illinois. My characters' names were Jack Frost and the Fat
Laurie says, "Conveniently for me, a little boy
my age lived in our building. Poor Greggy! Whenever he got scared, his
big eyes got even bigger. His mouth made a perfect O-shape, and he
howled like a dog. I made it my business to use the magic of stories
about Jack Frost and the Fat Lady to terrify Greggy. His howling gave
me a very satisfied feeling. This was probaby the earliest indication
that I would one day become a writer."
It was when Lawlor was in about the third grade
that she decided to become a writer. That was when she made the amazing
discovery that she did not have to tell these scary stories over and
over again. She could simply write them down. Her best friend in third
grade, who was an excellent artist, illustrated the books she wrote.
They had such a good time creating the books that they decided to work
together, making books, when they grew up. Unfortunately, Laurie's
friend became a dental hygienist, Laurie, however, trained as a
journalist and then went on to write books.
Laurie worked on the high school newspaper and
eventually went to journalism school at Northwestern University in
Evanston, Illinois. She worked for many years as a freelance writer and
editor before devoting herself on a more full-time basis to the
creation of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. She
teaches writing workshops to elementary and junior high school students
throughout the country as an artist-in-residence. She is a part-time
faculty member of Chicago's Columbia College, where she teaches writing
to undergraduates and graduates students, and facilitates teacher
characters and exciting adventures for children remains for me the
ultimate challenge of imagination and craft. Young readers are the most
demanding, vigilant, astonishing, and rewarding readers of all. --
March 2013 - Rachael Carson and Her Book That Changed the World, Laurie Lawlor, author, and Laura Beingessner, Illustrator, Holiday House, (2012) received the John Burroughs Riverby Award for 2012. The John Burroughs Riverby Award is presented to books hat are deemed excellent natural history books for young reders. In 2012 five books were named to the received the Riverby Award. Among those five titles is Laurie Lawlor's Rachael Carson and Her Book That Changed the World.
More than thirty of her books have been published
and more are forthcoming. Her books have received numerous nominations
for state awards.
Laurie Lawlor lives in Evanston, Illinois with
her husband, Labrador retriever, two parakeets, and a very ancient
goldfish. Her two children are grown.
A profile of Laurie is available in
the New 9th Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators (Connie Rockman,
editor; H.W. Wilson, 2004); pages 304-306.
She is also featured in Authors in the Pantry: Recipes, Stories, and More by Sharron L. McElmeel (Libraries Unlimited, 2007). pages 149-155.
In May 2007, Laurie was honored with a Distinquished Alumni Award from National-Louis University Center for Teaching Through Children's Books.
In March 2010, Laurie will be honored with the Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children.
Muddy as a Duck Puddle, featured at the 10th Annual Book Festival, Washington, D.C.