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Cynthia Rylant Author Study I
Children's Literature with Dr. Vardell

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Here is a picture of Cytnthia Rylant. This photograph is from a book that she wrote and illustrated called The Book Shop Dog. It is the winner of the 1997 KIND Children's Book Award, given by the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education.
Cynthia Rylant has written more than sixty books! This site just has a few for you to sample. Here are a few that you might like to read:

Biographical Sketch of Cynthia Rylant


Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, West Virginia.


Sadly, her parents were divorced when she was four years old. Her mother went to nursing school and Cynthia went to live with her grandparents in a four-room house in the Appalachian Mountains. This period of time in her life was the inspiration for her books, When I Was Young in the Mountains, The Relatives Came, Night in the Country, and This Years Garden.


There was no public library or bookstore in the small town where she lived when she was growing up. She loved to read comic books that she bought at the dime store and Nancy Drew mysteries.


As a child she loved animals and she still does to this day. Many of her books have cats,dogs and other critters in them.


As a teenager she was crazy for the singing group The Beatles and says that she was in love with the lead singer, Paul McCartney.


When it was time to head off to college, she was planning on becoming a nurse like her mom. She read a book by Langston Hughes that had a big impact on her and she switched her major to English.


She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Arts degree and a Masters degree in Library Science.


It was her job in the children's department of the library that got her hooked on children's books.


She wrote her first book, When I Was Young in the Mountains, in only one hour. It was accepted for publication right away. Illustrated by Diane Goode, it went on to win a Caldecott Honor Medal. 


She writes under a pseudonym, or pen name, that she adopted from her grandfather. Her true last name is Smith. She is a very private person. When she won the Newbery award for her book Missing May, she declined an invitation to appear on the Today Show. 


She has illustrated some of her own books, Dog Heaven, Cat Heaven, The Whales and The Bookshop Dog. She used a style of painting patterned after a famous folk artist, Grandma Moses.


Cynthia Rylant has written well over sixty books, many of which have won awards. On the next page you will find a list of ten books, all of them award-winning titles. This list focuses on award winning titles.

 Cynthia Rylant Author Study II Click the underlined text to go to page II.


 If you want to write to Cynthia Rylant, you can send a letter to any of these addresses:

Harcourt Brace Children's Books
525 B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
1230 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10019

The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic
555 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

The above link is to Cynthia Rylant's personal page. It is so colorful and fun. Go check it out!

Here is a Web site that you might like to visit about Cynthia Rylant.