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Paula Danziger (1944-2004) Biography

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for SATA sketch: Born August 18, 1944, in Washington, DC; died of complications after a heart attack July 8, 2004, in New York, NY. Educator and author. Danziger was a bestselling author of award-winning young adult novels. Resisting her mother's attempt to make her a nurse, she instead studied to be a teacher at Montclair State College, where she earned a degree in 1967. After graduation she became a junior high school teacher in New Jersey and started studying for a master's degree. It was at this time that she suffered injuries in two separate, serious car accidents. The second one, caused by a drunk driver, caused temporary brain damage that made reading difficult. While recovering, she started her first novel, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (1974), which became the first in a long stream of stories that often featured young girls struggling with everything from difficult families and school to boys and fears of having pimples or being too fat. Writing with both humor and empathy for the problems kids go through—having had a difficult childhood herself—Danziger completed many more young adult novels, including The Pistachio Prescription (1978), Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? (1979), There's a Bat in Bunk Five (1980), The Divorce Express (1982), and It's an Aardvark-Eat-Turtle World (1985). More recently, she wrote a series of stories featuring the character Amber Brown, including Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon (1994), Forever Amber Brown (1998), and What a Trip, Amber Brown (2001). Her final book, Barfburger Baby, I Was Here First, which was published posthumously, was a departure for her in that it is a picture book rather than a young adult novel. Danziger, who left teaching to write full time in 1978, was the recipient of numerous awards for her contributions to children's literature, including the Children's Choice Award, the Parents' Choice Award for Literature, and the Young Readers Medal.



Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2004, p. B19.

New York Times, July 10, 2004, p. B18.

Washington Post, July 13, 2004, p. B7.*

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