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Mij Kelly Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland; Education: Attended York University and Stirling University.


Agent—c/o PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.


Writer, editor, and journalist.

Honors Awards

Kathleen Fidler Award, 1993, for 48 Hours with Franklin; White Ravens selection, International Youth Library, 2002, for William and the Night Train.



48 Hours with Franklin (novel), Blackie (London, England), 1993.

Franklin Falls Apart, Dutton (London, England), 1995.

I Hate Everyone, illustrated by Ruth Palmer, David Bennett Books (St. Albans, England), 2000.

William and the Night Train, illustrated by Alison Jay, Hodder Headline (London, England), 2000, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2001.

One More Sheep, illustrated by Russell Ayto, Hodder Headline (London, England), 2004.

Sweet Pea and Boogaloo, Hodder (London, England), 2004.

Where's My Darling Daughter?, illustrated by Katharine McEwen, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2005.

Potty Thieves, Hodder (London, England), 2006.


(Editor with Tim Edensor) Moving Worlds, Polygon (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1989.


At age five British children's book author Mij Kelly just knew writing was her destiny; as Kelly explained on her home page, her grandma predicted it would be so. The author of picture books such as William and the Night Train, One More Sheep, and Where's My Darling Daughter?, Kelly spins her simple stories in verse because, as she explained, "writing in rhyme makes it much easier to control the rhythm and therefore the way the story ultimately sounds. It doesn't matter whether it's a teacher, parent or older sibling who's going to be doing the reading, you want them to read with expression—you want them to declaim your story like an orator." In her review of One More Sheep for the London Guardian, Julia Eccleshare wrote that "Kelly's rhyming text has terrific panache."

Illustrated by Alison Jay and released in both Kelly's native England and the United States, William and the Night Train centers around a young boy who, like so many children, has difficulty falling asleep. Using subtle imagery, Kelly portrays sleep as a midnight locomotive, its passengers boarding as they close their eyes, then traveling through the nighttime toward Tomorrow. William's family joins many other people as well as a diverse group of animals, boarding the train in Jay's illustrations. Although the young boy is eager for tomorrow to come, he is too excited to fall asleep on the train, and his restlessness disrupts his sleepy fellow passengers and postpones the train's departure. Ultimately, the boy's mother finally convinces him that shutting his eyes will allow tomorrow to come. "This is the kind of book that children and adults will pore over together," commented Connie Fletcher in a Booklist review, while a Publishers Weekly critic praised Jay's "soothing illustrations, bathed in muted earth tones," and added that "Kelly's poetic text unspools in a seamless strand, twining scrumptious rhymes … with nimble worldplay."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, February 15, 2001, Connie Fletcher, review of William and the Night Train, p. 1135.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2001, review of William and the Night Train, p. 376.

Guardian (London, England), July 10, 2004, Julia Eccle-share, review of One More Sheep.

New Statesman and Society, August 18, 1989, Nancee Oku Bright, "Moving Worlds: Personal Recollections of 21 Immigrants to Edinburgh," p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, December 18, 2000, review of William and the Night Train, p. 77.

School Librarian, February, 1994, review of 48 Hours with Franklin, p. 21; May, 1996, review of Franklin Falls Apart, p. 62.

School Library Journal, March, 2001, Rosalyn Pierini, review of William and the Night Train, p. 213.

Teacher Librarian, December, 2001, review of William and the Night Train, p. 12; February, 2002, review of William and the Night Train, p. 50.

Today's Parent, August, 2005, Stephanie Simpson McLellan, review of One More Sheep, p. 26.


Mij Kelly Home Page, http://www.mijinyork.dsl.pipex.com/ (November 6, 2005).

PFD Web site, http://www.pfd.co.uk/ (November 6, 2005), "Mij Kelly."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - Personal