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Katherine (Alice) (K. A. Applegate) Applegate (1956–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1956, in MI. Hobbies and other interests: Playing the cello, traveling, reading, gardening, her pet cats.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, c/o Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.


Freelance writer.



The Invasion, Scholastic (New York, NY),1996.

The Visitor, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

The Encounter, Demco Media, 1996.

The Predator, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

The Message, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

The Andalite Chronicles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Capture, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Stranger, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Alien, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Secret, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Android, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Forgotten, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Reaction, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Change, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Unknown, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Escape, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Warning, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Underground, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Decision, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Departure, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Discovery, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Threat, Demco Media, 1998.

The Solution, Demco Media, 1999.

The Pretender, Demco Media, 1999.

The Suspicion, Demco Media, 1999.

The Extreme, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Attack, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Exposed, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Experiment, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Sickness, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Reunion, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Conspiracy, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Illusion, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Ellimist Chronicles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Familiar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Visser, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Weakness, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Hidden, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Mutation, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2000.

The Journey, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Unexpected, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Test, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Separation, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2000.

The Revelation, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Resistance, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

The Proposal, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2000.

The Other, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2001.

The Diversion, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The Sacrifice, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The Absolute, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The Answer, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The Arrival, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2001.

The Beginning, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The "Animorphs" books have been translated into French.


The Andalite's Gift, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Animorphs: In the Time of the Dinosaurs, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Elfangor's Secret, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Back to Before, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.


The First Journey, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

The Next Passage, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.


Search for Senna, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Land of Loss, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Enter the Enchanted, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Realm of the Reaper, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Gateway to the Gods, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Discover the Destroyer, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Fear the Fantastic, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Inside the Illusion, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Brave the Betrayal, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Understand the Unknown, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Entertain the End, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.


The Mayflower Project, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Destination Unknown, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2001.

Them, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2001.

Nowhere Land, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

Breakdown, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

Isolation, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

Mother May I?, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

No Place like Home, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

Lost and Found, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Dream Storm, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Aftermath, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Survival, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Begin Again, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.


Zoey Fools Around, Harper (New York, NY), 1994.

Jake Finds Out, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

Nina Won't Tell, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

Ben's in Love, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

What Zoey Saw, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

Claire Gets Caught, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

Lucas Gets Hurt, Flare (New York, NY), 1998.

Aisha Goes Wild, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Zoey Plays Games, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Nina Shapes Up, Camelot, 1999.

Ben Takes a Chance, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Claire Can't Lose, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Don't Tell Zoey, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Aaron Lets Go, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Who Loves Kate, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Lara Gets Even, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Two-Timing Aisha, Flare (New York, NY), 1999.

Falling for Claire, Flare (New York, NY), 2000.

Never Trust Lara, Flare (New York, NY) 2000.

Zoey's Broken Heart, Flare (New York, NY) 2000.

Zoey Comes Home, Flare (New York, NY) 2000.


June Dreams, Archway (New York, NY), 1995.

July's Promise, Archway (New York, NY), 1995.

August Magic, Archway (New York, NY), 1995.

Beaches, Boys, and Betrayal, Archway (New York, NY), 1996.

Sand, Surf, and Secrets, Archway (New York, NY), 1996.

Rays, Romance, and Rivalry, Archway (New York, NY), 1996.

Christmas Special Edition, Archway (New York, NY), 1996.

Spring Break Reunion, Archway (New York, NY), 1996.


Horse Fever ("Girl Talk" series), Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1991.

Family Rules ("Girl Talk" series), Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1991.

Randy's Big Dream, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.

Randy and the Great Canoe Race, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.

Randy and the Perfect Boy, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.

Randy's Big Chance, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.


The Story of Two American Generals: Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and Colin L. Powell (nonfiction), Dell (New York, NY), 1992.

Disney's The Little Mermaid: The Haunted Palace, illustrated by Philo Barnhart, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Disney's The Little Mermaid: King Triton, Beware!, illustrated by Philo Barnhart, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Disney's Christmas with All the Trimmings: Original Stories and Crafts from Mickey Mouse and Friends, illustrated by Phil Wilson, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Boyfriend Mix-up, illustrated by Philo Barnhart, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Sharing Sam (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.

Disney's Tales from Agrabah: Seven Original Stories of Aladdin and Jasmine, illustrated by Fred Marvin and Jose Cardona, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Nicholas Stephens) Disney's Climb Aboard if You Dare!: Stories from the Pirates of the Caribbean, illustrated by Roberta Collier-Morales, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Listen to My Heart ("Love Stories Super" series), Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

Jack Rabbit and the Beanstalk (picture book), illustrated by Holly Hannon, Inchworm Press, 1997.

Escape (picture book; "Magic School Bus" series), Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Contributor to numerous other juvenile novels, including installments in "Sweet Valley Twin" series, "Ocean City" series, and "Changes Romance" series. Author of Harlequin romances for adults.


The "Animorphs" books have been adapted as a television series for Nickelodeon.

Work in Progress

Further novels in the "Animorphs" and "Remnants" series.


Katherine Applegate, who also writes as K. A. Applegate, is a prolific author of science fiction novels for middle-grade readers. Applegate's most successful venture in juvenile fiction, however, has been her creation of the "Animorphs" series. These books, about young adolescents given the power by aliens to "morph" themselves into various animals, have rivaled R. L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series in popularity. Applegate has com-
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pleted over sixty titles in the "Animorphs" series, and has also created spin-off series such as the "Megamorphs," wherein the characters take turns narrating chapters, and the "choose-your-own-adventure" "Alternamorphs" series. Writing in Horn Book, Christine Heppermann attributed the popularity of the "Animorphs" books to the fact that "Readers can take what they want from it—the animal info or the aliens or the realistic adolescent dilemmas of crushes and problem parents. They can skim over the rest."

Born in Michigan, Applegate enjoyed writing from an early age, but thought she might be a veterinarian when she grew up. As a child, her family shared their home with dogs, cats, and gerbils, and during high school Applegate got a job with a local veterinarian in order to make the acquaintance of even more pets. As she got older, writing took over as her main interest, however, and the easily distractible Applegate established the strict writing schedule that has allowed her to make writing children's books her full-time career. While much of her time is spent at her desk, many of her books, particularly the "Animorphs" titles, require re-search into a wide variety of animals, and the author often travels to zoos and nature centers to speak with experts about the habits and behavior of a specific creature.

In an interview for Publishers Weekly, Applegate told Sally Lodge where her idea for the "Animorphs" books came from. "I grew up loving animals and lived with the usual suburban menagerie of dogs, cats and gerbils," she confided. "I really wanted to find a way to get kids into the heads of various species and decided that a science-fiction premise was the way to do this." She worked up a plan for an entire series—which she initially called "The Changelings"—and submitted it, with rough drafts of chapters for several different novels, to Scholastic. Picked up by the publisher, Applegate's "Animorphs" books received heavy promotion, along with eye-catching, die-cut covers. According to Jean Feiwel, a vice president at Scholastic, it has been Applegate's skill in bringing to life the series' main concept that has resulted in the books' popularity, however. As Feiwel explained to a Publishers Weekly interviewer, the concept "is absolutely unbelievable but utterly possible. The notion of kids morphing is also close to
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adolescent body changes in some ways. It is out of their control, but becomes something quite fabulous—which is what you like to think happens in the process of growing up." Feiwel also noted that while the protagonists of "Animorphs" "may go off to defend the earth against aliens, at the end of the day they still have math homework to do."

The "Animorphs" books revolve around a race of parasitic slug-like beings known as Yeerks, which are attempting to take over Earth by infiltrating the brains of human beings. One of the earliest novels in the series, The Message, features a young woman named Cassie who is disturbed by strange messages in her dreams. Cassie eventually realizes that she is receiving a distress signal from a prince of the Andalites, requesting her help and giving her and four friends morphic powers. She persuades her friends that they should change into dolphins in order to rescue their allies from the Yeerks. Linda Bindner, reviewing The Message for School Library Journal, praised Cassie's portrayal, stating that "her struggles to come to terms with her decision are realistic and engaging." Bindner also judged that "the descriptions of becoming and living as dolphins and other animals are impressive."

In addition to her "Animorphs" books, Applegate has also produced several shorter book series that feature an imaginative premise. Her "Everworld" books mix the fantasy of an alternative world where gods and wizards and all manner of mythical creatures abide, with the trials and tribulations of five present-day high schoolers. Titles in the series include Fear the Fantastic, Inside the Illusion, and Entertain the End. When the universe created by Earth's ancient immortals is invaded by creatures of myth that are not part of human tradition, the Norse god Loki recruits Senna Wales and her four friends from the real world to help set things right. Discussing the "Everworld" books on the Scholastic Web site, Applegate explained: "I felt it was time to come up with a follow-on, or companion series for 'Animorphs.' I knew I didn't want to do straight science fiction. I felt I should try my hand at fantasy, but I wanted contemporary characters. In other words, I didn't want the characters to belong in the fantasy environment, I wanted them to be from our own world. And I wanted them to continue to be part of the real world. So from there I just had to come up with a device to allow me to do that."

Applegate returns to science fiction in her "Remnants" books, which take flight in the first title, The Mayflower Project. The series takes place after an asteroid has collided with Earth. While life on the planet is annihilated, a small group of survivors board a spacecraft with a new—and yet untested—form of hibernation technology. Blasting into space as their home planet is destroyed, the group must survive against an assortment of challenges as their members dwindle. Featuring characters Jobs and Mo'Steel, the series continues in the novels Nowhere Land, Begin Again, and Survival.

While much of her writing has been for her "Animorphs," "Everworld," and "Remnants" series, Applegate has also penned adult romances for Harlequin, as well as books for the "Sweet Valley Twins" series and for Disney Books. She has also published several novels in the "Making Out" series, which includes titles such as Zoey Fools Around, Clare Can't Lose, and Never Trust Lara. In Zoey Fools Around Zoey, a senior in high school, has a long-time boyfriend named Jake; they live on a small island off the coast of Maine, where they are counting the days until graduation. The balance of the relationships between Zoey, Jake, and their circle of friends is upset when Lucas Cabral returns to their high school; he has just spent two years in a juvenile facility because of his part in an alcohol-related accident that caused the death of Jake's older brother. The book is composed of both a normal third-person narrative, and what a Publishers Weekly contributor described as "autobiographical fragments" from Zoey herself.

Other characters introduced in this first novel are an African-American girl named Aisha, who is frightened of having a relationship with a boy who might prove to be her romantic destiny, and Claire, who, in the words of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "is more unhappy and confused than evil." The reviewer cited "better-than-average character development" in predicting that Zoey Fools Around would be "likely to hook its intended audience." The same cast of characters returns for more adventures in several additional titles in the series.

Another of Applegate's young-adult efforts is Sharing Sam. In this novel, Alison is just starting to get to know Sam, the new guy who rides his own Harley Davidson motorcycle to their school in Florida. Then she learns that her long-time best friend Izzy has developed brain cancer and has only a few months to live. When Izzy begins expressing interest in Sam, Alison decides to put her own desires on hold in favor of making her friend's last days as happy as possible. Alison manages to talk Sam into dating Izzy; meanwhile, Sam is dealing with the aging process in his much-loved grandfather and trying to face their inevitable parting. A contributor to Publishers Weekly praised Sharing Sam for the "thoughtful characterizations and the logical, not entirely strife-free way in which the premise is developed." Frances Bradburn, writing in Booklist, stated: "While adults will find the premise uncomfortable, teenage girls will be fascinated."

Applegate discussed with Lodge her feelings about writing for middle graders, calling her audience "the best readers on the planet. They are open-minded, imaginative and willing to embrace ideas." She also revealed that she enjoys the challenges presented to her by series fiction, because "a series writer has to develop plotting and pacing that become a well-oiled machine. You don't have the luxury of spending a year on a book and absolutely cannot indulge in writer's block." Although she has proved herself to be a prolific writer, Applegate has not sacrificed quality. As she told Lodge, when writing
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for young teen readers, she works to "write in perfect language and choose just the right images, to make sure that my middle readers f[a]ll in love with the characters and return … again and again."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 15, 1992, Sheilamae, O'Hara, review of The Story of Two American Generals: Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and Colin L. Powell, p. 1532; March 15, 1995, Frances Bradburn, review of Sharing Sam, p. 132; March 15, 2000, review of Realm of the Reaper, Enter the Enchanted, Search for Senna, and Land of Loss, p. 1461; February 15, 2004, Rebecca Platzner, review of Sharing Sam, p. 1050.

Horn Book, May, 1997, Christine Heppermann, "Invasion of the Animorphs," pp. 54-56.

Publishers Weekly, February 28, 1994, review of Zoey Fools Around, p. 89; July 10, 1995, p. 59; November 3, 1997, Sally Lodge, "Scholastic's Animorphs Series Has Legs," p. 36; February 16, 1998, pp. 178-188; June 21, 1999, review of Sharing Sam, p. 55, and review of Search for Senna, pp. 69-70.

Resource Links, December, 1999, p. 27.

School Library Journal, June, 1997, Linda Bindner, review of The Message, p. 114.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2000, review of Search for Senna, Land of Loss, and Enter the Enchanted, p. 182.


Scholastic Web site, http://scholastic.com/ (July 1, 2005), "K. A. Applegate."

Additional topics

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