Lorie Ann Grover (1964–) Biography
Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1964, in Miami, FL; adopted Education: Attended University of Miami. Politics: Republican. Religion: Reformed Baptist.
Writer and illustrator. Member, Sumner, WA, Arts Commission, 2001, 2002.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age selection, Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year designation, Washington State Book Award finalist, Rhode Island Teen Book Award finalist, and Booklist Top-Ten First Novel for Youth pick, all 2002, all for Loose Threads; Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year designation, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award finalist, and Girl's Life magazine Top-Ten Summer Read pick, all 2004, all for On Pointe.
MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS; SELF-ILLUSTRATED
Loose Threads, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2002.
On Pointe, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Hold Me Tight, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Mary Palenick Colborn, Rainy Day Slug, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2000.
When Daddy Comes Home: A Lift-the-Flap Book, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2005.
Work in Progress
A novel set in South Korea in the 1980s, titled Dark Doorways; a fantasy novel.
Lorie Ann Grover is an illustrator as well as an author whose books for young readers focus on emotional issues and crises ranging from family illnesses to molestation. As a writer, Grover uses poems and free verse to tell her stories. Her highly praised verse novel Loose Threads tells the story of Kay, a seventh grader whose grandmother has breast cancer. Kay lives with her grandmother, as well as with her mother and great-grandmother. The family crisis leads Kay to reflect on her own personal challenges and problems and try to put them in perspective. In a review for Denver Post, Claire Martin wrote that Loose Threads "will resonate with anyone confronting death and dying," while a Kirkus Reviews contributor suggested that Grover 's "compelling debut may offend some with its frankness, but many others will take it to heart for its many strengths."
Inspired by Grover's love of ballet, On Pointe tells the story of Clare, a sixteen year old who has studied for ten years in order to accomplish her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. Clare's classes are demanding and she struggles, along with her classmates, to master the skill and maintain the dedication it takes to become a professional dancer. The dance students often discuss such things as bulimia and being fat, because ballet causes them to obsess about their bodies. Unfortunately for Clare, she grows too tall to qualify for a career in ballet, a fact that seems to disappoint her mother more than it does her. A subplot in the story involves Clare's grandfather, with whom she is living for the summer in order to be close to ballet school. When he suffers a stroke, a caretaker helps Clare learn that she can still love dancing even though she will not be a performer. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "brings an air of authenticity to this well-wrought free-verse novel," while in School Library Journal Carol Schene commented that Grover's "finely written novel touches on contemporary themes such as body image …, overly ambitious parents, and aging grandparents."
In Hold Me Tight Grover uses a series of brief poems to explore the crises that occur in the life of twelve-year-old Essie and her family. Essie learns on Thanksgiving Day that her father is leaving them. Her mother is pregnant and unable to work, placing a financial burden on the family. Furthermore, a family friend attempts to molest her. Essie's fear of the changing world around her grows even greater after one of her classmates disappears. Fortunately, with the aid of friends and others in the community, Essie and her family cope with their changing lives and establish a solid foundation to create a positive future. "Essie's first-person, present-tense narration offers readers an intimate, if narrow, view of events," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, while in Kliatt, Claire Rosser suggested that while "some readers may question the pile-on of Essie's problems," "the main strengths of this story are the immediacy of the poetry and the power of Essie as a narrator." School Library Journal contributor Susan Riley praised Hold Me Tight, writing: "Told in evocative prose poetry, this powerful story is sure to touch the hearts of many readers."
Grover is also the author/illustrator of When Daddy Comes Home: A Lift-the-Flap Book and has contributed art to Mary Palenick Colborn's Rainy Day Slug, about a slug exploring the world. Reviewing Rainy Day Slug in School Library Journal, Jody McCoy assessed that Grover's "bold, vibrant, cartoon illustrations celebrate northwestern banana slugs with an enthusiasm sure to delight young readers."
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Grover told SATA: "I have always written poetry to work through difficult situations, even as a child. However, with a focus on a ballet career from ages five to fifteen, writing was always secondary.
"After my membership in the Miami Ballet Company ended due to my increasing height, I pursued fine art and studied at the University of Miami. There I began to feel the need to express myself not only visually but also in word. The desire to be clearly understood and a love of verse yielded my novels in verse.
"I hope readers hear my voice and find encouragement in their own trials. As Kay says in Loose Threads: 'Other kids / Suffer in novels. / I'm not the only one. / My stuff / Could be worse. / I hold the open book to my face / And breathe deep. / The ink paper smell / Fills me up. / Each author / Is a friend saying / 'There's hope. / Look.'
"My light, cheerful illustrative work versus my heavy, written subject matter show different sides of my personality. Illustrating brings me happiness while writing offers deep satisfaction.
"Karen Hesse and Virginia Euwer Wolff's works have influenced my work. The verse novel is the perfect format for me to share my personal stories. The tight structure carries emotion and the first-person narrative exceedingly well. I encourage writers to try as many different forms of creating that they encounter. What best fits one's voice is often surprising."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Loose Threads, p. 594; July, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of On Pointe, p. 1844.
Denver Post, October 20, 2002, Claire Martin, review of Loose Threads, p. EE02.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Loose Threads, p. 955; May 15, 2004, review of On Pointe, p. 491; March 15, 2005, review of Hold Me Tight, p. 352.
Kliatt, March, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of Hold Me Tight, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 2002, review of Loose Threads, p. 76; July 12, 2004, review of On Pointe, p. 64.
School Library Journal, August, 2000, Jody McCoy, review of Rainy Day Slug, p. 146; October, 2002, Sharon Korbeck, review of Loose Threads, p. 183; June, 2004, Carol Schene, review of On Pointe, p. 138; March, 2005, Susan Riley, review of Hold Me Tight, p. 212.
Lorie Ann Grover Home Page, http://www.lorieanngrover.com (March 24, 2005).
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