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Gloria G. Schlaepfer (1931-) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1931, in New York, NY; daughter of Walter Edmund Grush (a jeweler) and Marguerite Martin Gloria G. Schlaepfer Kolander (a bank clerk); Education: Douglass College, Rutgers University, B.A. (zoology/microbiology), 1954; California State University, Fullerton, M.S. (environmental studies), 1985. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, bird watching, gardening, travel, music.


Variety Children's Hospital, Miami, FL, chief technician in virology laboratory, 1955-59. Girl Scouts of America, troop leader, 1968-73; Fullerton Arboretum, California State University, Fullerton, co-creator and coordinator of Green Scene (garden event), 1974-75; City of Fullerton Transportation Commission, chair, 1977-81; American Association of University Women, Fullerton, CA, branch grantee, 1980; California State University, Fullerton, Art Alliance, president, 1983-87; Orange County Transportation Commission Citizen's Advisory Committee, chair, 1988-90; California Project Learning Tree, facilitator, 1990-99.


Society of Children Writers and Illustrators, American Association of University Women (president, 1975-77; vice president for program, 1972-74), National Audubon Society (volunteer naturalist, Sea and Sage Chapter), League of Women Voters, Tree Society of Orange County (CA; president, 1996-99), Fullerton Beautiful.

Honors Awards

March of Dimes Outstanding Mother Award, 1971; American Association of University Women grantee, 1980; Volunteer of the Year Award, California State University, Fullerton, 1983; Young Women's Christian Association Volunteer of the Year Award, 1988; named Woman of the Year, Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, 1992; Soroptomist International Woman of Distinction Award, 1995; Clara Barton Spectrum Award, American Red Cross, 1997.



(With Mary Lou Samuelson) The African Rhinos, Dillon Press (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Mary Lou Samuelson) The Coyote, Dillon Press (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Mary Lou Samuelson) Pythons and Boas: Squeezing Snakes, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2002.

Cheetahs, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Elephants, Benchmark Books (Tarrytown, NY), 2003.

Butterflies, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Louisiana Purchase, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.


Gloria G. Schlaepfer told Something about the Author: "After I married, raised a family of four children, and actively participated in community volunteer work, I went back to college and completed a master's degree in environmental studies. It was the right time for me to pursue a new direction in my life. I decided to develop a meaningful career by combining my education with my commitment and passion for the environment. Writing children's books about the natural world and the remarkable plants and animals in it became my new focus.

"I was fortunate to have a friend and retired teacher who also had an interest and concern for endangered species and other unique animals, and she agreed to join me in this new writing adventure. It was a good experience. We learned to research and write together for children, and each of us gave a special skill to our working relationship, which lasted twelve years. After an amiable separation, I continued to write on my own.

"As a child, I loved to read the encyclopedia, and my interest in learning new subjects hasn't diminished. Each manuscript is a fascinating challenge to research, assemble, and write, and I love it. As I read and research, it surprises me to discover the remarkable qualitites of the species, whether it is predator or prey. Armed with that information, I try to give the young readers a full understanding and appreciation for the special subject of the book. My goal is to show children how amazing wildlife is and to encourage them to appreciate and value the earth's natural resources.

"Writing has become my vocation, but I find that writing is hard work, especially in the first stages. I am a slow writer, so I am happy if I get 100 to 500 words on a page a day. The next day I may go back to those words and edit a little. And since my books have been nonfiction, I double-check all the facts and use primary sources whenever possible. I still struggle, though, to keep focused on the main points and not bring in unnecessary details. After a chapter is written, I revise until I am satisfied that I have made the material understandable to young minds. I thought the time I give to revision came from my perfectionist nature, but I have learned that is routine for most writers. The chapter is put to rest, and I do not look at it again until the manuscript is completed. I keep files of clippings and books of reference material. They provide the genesis I need for a new manuscript."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 1, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of The African Rhinos, p. 509; March 15, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Elephants, p. 1316.

Horn Book Guide, spring, 2003, review of Elephants.

School Library Journal, October, 1992, Susan Oliver, review of The African Rhinos, p. 134.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) Biography