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Maggie Stern (1953-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

george books diggety book

Born 1953, in New York, NY; Education: Kirkland College, B.A., 1976; Simmons College, M.A., 1981; Lesley College, M.A. (counseling psychology), 1985. Politics: Democrat.

Addresses

Agent—Karen Klockner, Transatlantic Literary Agency, 72 Glengowan Rd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 1G4.

Career

Worked as a school counselor. Writer, beginning 1997.

Member

Foundation for Children's Books.

Honors Awards

Bank Street School Award, 1999, for George, and 2000, for George and Diggety.

Writings

The Missing Sunflowers, illustrated by Donna Ruff, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Acorn Magic, illustrated by Donna Ruff, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 1998.

George, illustrated by Blanche Sims, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1999.

George and Diggety, illustrated by Blanche Sims, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Singing Diggety, illustrated by Blanche Sims, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Work in Progress

More books for children.

Sidelights

Massachusetts-based writer Maggie Stern is the author of several children's books, including The Missing Sunflowers, a picture book that follows a young boy's battle for ownership of some sunflowers with a hungry squirrel, and the beginning reader George and Diggety. George and Diggety, the sequel to Stern's 1999 chapter book George, focuses on a likeable young boy who, with his dog Diggety, engages in typically boyish behavior. In the first of the book's three chapters, George and his siblings try to measure Diggety's dog IQ using a magazine quiz; other escapades include a celebration of Diggety's birthday and finding a way to let George's patient pup enjoy winter sledding. Connie Fletcher praised Stern's "George" books as a "fun-filled way to move children from picture books to chapter books" in her Booklist review, while a Horn Book reviewer commented that the author"uses repetitive sequences and sentences, a valuable redundancy important for developing fluency." Praising Stern's young protagonist in the simply titled George, a Publishers Weekly reviewer cited the book's "brief sentences, punchy dialogue, ample art [by illustrator Blanche Sims], and … plucky young hero."

Stern told Something about the Author: "Ever since I was in third grade, and author Peggy Parish was my teacher, I knew I wanted to write. But of course I also wanted to be an actress in musicals. The only problem was I couldn't sing. I was an extremely shy child (just not on stage) and writing was my outlet. I wrote all through high school and went to Kirkland College, primarily to work with Natalie Babbitt. For four glorious years, I worked independently with Natalie. She was my friend and my mentor and taught me how to write. After Kirkland I sent my first book to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow, and though we became lifelong friends, she turned down that novel, as did countless other editors. I went to graduate school at Simmons College, and had the privilege of knowing Paul and Ethel Heins, and working with such luminaries as Jane Langton and Betty Levin. Gregory Maguire was my best friend and together we sang (him magically) and continued a lifelong friendship. After several books and more rejections than I can count, I switched careers [and became a school guidance counselor].

"I now write just about every day, whether the muse is with me or not. I know if I'm not at my computer, that's the day the muse will come! I still get more rejections than acceptances and that is difficult. But I write because it's what I love most to do. The book that inspired me most as a child was Harriet the Spy—I learned from Harriet to NEVER QUIT and to write everything down, or I'd forget it. When I teach young children about writing, that's the most important message I have for them; WRITE IT DOWN. WRITE IT DOWN—otherwise some of the best ideas get forgotten. Keep a journal, read books, LIVE LIFE to its fullest."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1997, Lauren Peterson, review of The Missing Sunflowers, p. 1581; September 1, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of George and Diggety, p. 119.

Horn Book, September, 2000, B.C., review of George and Diggety, p. 582.

Publishers Weekly, January 20, 1997, review of The Missing Sunflowers, p. 402; November 22, 1999, review of George, p. 56.

ONLINE

Maggie Stern, http:www.maggiestern.com/ (December 22, 2004).

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