My Major Influences

  • Ray Pearson, uncle, reporter and city editor of The Detroit New and Free Press
  • Walter Havighurst, Miami University writer/teacher, who encouraged me to write creatively and suggested to me that children’s books was an interesting field
  • Joe Creason, feature writer of The Lousiville Courier Journal who went into the wilds of Kentucky for a story, and I was lucky enough to watch
  • Louis Dey, art director of The Louisville Courier Journal, who taught me how to lay out a page
  • Jean Fritz, whose Katonah, N.Y.workshop on Writing for Children I attended for seven years, and who by brilliant example taught me how to edit
  • Jean Fritz

    Jean Fritz

  • Robert Kingston, professor at Manhattanville College, Oxford scholar who introduced me to Shakespeare’s plays and Aristotle’s Poetics
  • Aristotle, who introduced me to what creates a great character in his Poetics
  • Sue Ely, teaching colleague at The Gill St. Bernard’s School, where she taught me the power and beauty of metaphors
  • Merrill Skaggs, Drew professor who introduced me to William Faulkner and Joan Williams, lovers of language and idea
  • John Warner, Drew professor who allowed a tutorial on fantasy and the hero’s journey
  • Margaret Frith, my first and longtime editor at Coward McCann and Putnam. Editor of Christina Katerina and the Box, This Time, Tempe Wick and all my major books
  • Ann Beneduce, who introduced me to standards in story, art and publishing
  • Eric Carle, who by example taught me to look at design in a powerful way
  • Judith St. George, author and close friend, who encouraged my editing, author of So You Want to Be President
  • Judith St. George

    Judith St. George

  • Ronald Gauch, who encouraged my writing and my editing, as well, and who bought me a little white Plymouth when I had two little girls so that I could join Jean Fritz’s Writers Workshop and go back to school to get a masters’ degree – at the same time