For the Press
Laurie Lawlor is the author of 41 works of award-winning fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World (Holiday House), middle grade nonfiction, profiles remarkable pioneers in fields ranging from astronomy and mathematics to cartography and biochemistry. Published in 2017, Super Women received a Booklist starred review and was named 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Book by Children’s Book Council (CBC) and NSTA. Big Tree Down! (Holiday House), a lively picture book released in spring 2018, celebrates cooperation during a community emergency. Lawlor was awarded the 2012 John Burroughs Riverby Award for Excellence in Nature Writing for Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World, featured on the ALA Amelia Bloomer Award List. She is the recipient of the 2010 Illinois Reading Council’s Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children. She has taught creative writing at Northwestern University, National-Louis University, Columbia College of Chicago, and elementary school workshops throughout the Midwest.
I grew up in a large, theatrical family—the eldest of six. With no musical or acting skills, I discovered that I had to find something I could do so my parents would remember my name. Storytelling became something special and empowering for me. I discovered that if I created extremely believable scary stories, there would be places in our house in LaGrange, Illinois, that my younger brothers and sisters would not go. Thanks to my terrifying tales about an invented character named Evil Peter Pan, who lived in our attic, I discovered a place where none of my younger siblings would trespass. The dusty third floor! At last I could read and write in peace.
Not surprisingly, mysteries were my great love as a young reader. I always fancied myself becoming a detective, a forest ranger, or a world traveler. Somehow writing has allowed me to do something of all three in both fiction and nonfiction: digging deep into history clues, spending time outdoors, and traveling through time and space while writing.
My husband and I have two adult children. We have been married for more than four decades. Our four, energetic grandchildren in grade school give me lots of new ideas for books. My greatest accomplishments over the years have been to inspire my grandchildren to go on regular outdoor adventures and to love books. They are all great explorers and readers with many different tastes.
Currently, I am involved in environmental activism and creating books that encourage children and young adults to explore the outdoors and appreciate nature. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World (Holiday House) allowed me to explore an amazing environmental hero and her remarkable dedication in creating the path-breaking Silent Spring more than 50 years ago.
I work with several local groups to protect a watershed and rare wetland in southeastern Wisconsin. This involves writing, speaking, organizing, and testifying before planning commissions and committees. My inspiration for this work comes from regular hikes in the woods with our dog. And our grandchildren.
Natural history is one of my favorite kinds of reading. There are many very inspiring authors whose work gives wonderful insights into the importance of stewardship of our fragile planet: Barry Lopez, Aldo Leopold, H. D. Thoreau, Rachel Carson, and Terry Tempest Williams.
I always love to read poetry as well. Some of my favorite poets: Seamus Heaney, Jane Hirschfield, Jane Kenyon, William Carlos Williams, and Wendell Berry. My reading is always eclectic and nonfiction related, especially when I’m working on a new book. And I’m always working on a new book!