about

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.

Laurie Lawlor
Lau­rie Lawlor

My Background

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!

Lau­rie Lawlor on the lake