Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sharin' Sharon Creech's Biography

Sharon Creech is a children’s writer with a unique approach to writing novels. Her novels have stories within stories and incorporate a great deal of voice, often driving home at least one of the major themes or ideas if not more. Her two novels, The Wanderer and Granny Torrelli Makes Soup explore issues children often have difficulty dealing with, in an enlightening and round-about manner.

She was born in South Euclid, Ohio and is one of five children. A wealth of biographical information can be found on Sharon’s web page. Like the majority of us, she was unsure of what she wanted to be when she grew up. Later on in her school life she recognized her strengths and focused on literature and writing classes. She taught high school writing and English. She quickly acquired a great deal of knowledge on writing techniques and soon began writing her own books. She however, began writing books for adults and after two were published switched to writing for a younger audience.

Several of Creech’s novels have earned awards and honors. Absolutely Normal Chaos has earned: 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing 1995 (NY Public Library) and YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2001. Bloomability has earned: IRA/CBC Children’s Choices 1999, Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award 1998 and Chicago Public Library Best Books 1998. Love That Dog earned the: Christopher Award, Mitten Award (Michigan) and Claudia Lewis Poetry Award. Creech has received a Newbery Medal for her novel Walk Two Moons, which ironically was her first book to be published in the United States. She, according to her website, is still in shock over this. This novel has also earned the: United Kingdom Reading Association Award 1995, Children’s Book Award 1995, Literaturhaus Award 1997 and Young Adult Sequoyah Award 1997. She has also won a Newbery Honor Award for her novel The Wanderer; which has also earned: ALA Notable Book 2001, Christopher Award 2001, Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2000, SLJ Best Books 2000, ALA Books for Youth Editors’ Choice 2000, Parent’s Choice Award 2000 and Child Magazine Best of the Year 2000.
There are many reviews on Sharon Creech's works. Click here to read reviews on Creech's novel The Wanderer. You can find reviews on Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by clicking here. I encourage you to visit these sites, they provide great feedback on her works.

Her family and trips (vacations) have inspired her writing, specifically her novels. It is interesting to note her inspiration for Granny Torrelli Makes Soup came when Sharon’s daughter was expecting her first child and memories Sharon had of her own grandmother. Many of her memories revolved around food and the many hidden lessons in meal preparation that move beyond recipes. The Wanderer had two separate motifs of inspiration. One consisted of Creech’s daughter taking a journey across the ocean (yes, ultimately to England) and the journal she kept along the way and the experience forever ingrained in her heart. The other inspiration came from the somber experience Sharon had when she lived in Europe and traveled back and forth to visit, and ultimately bury, her dying mother. The twelve trips left her longing to be home, the same sentiment the characters in The Wanderer felt. After reading these two novels as well as Love That Dog is is easy to see her family, life and thoughts inspire her writing. I love how she has a profound talent for exploring thoughts and feelings she has had or currently has and turns it into a captivating novel! For more information on Creech's motivation, visit this web site.

Creech’s novels do contain humor but cannot be considered a purely entertainment read as Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary’s novels can. Creech’s novels delve into thought processes all children have, meanwhile exploring complex issues children face. Sharon's novel The Wanderer can be compared to V.M. Caldwell's novel, The Ocean Within. Like Sophie in The Wanderer, Caldwell's novel also contains a young girl who has recently been adopted and is preparing for a visit to her new grandmother's house by the sea with several cousins. This character, like Sophie, is struggling to find her own identity as well as her place within her new family. Sharon has a great talent for intertwining lessons within lessons – just when you grasp the first theme or plot aspect, the reader is plunged into another lesson. She has a profound talent for using voice in a manner that keeps the reader interested and, at the same time, explores thoughts the reader has.
Sharon Creech is an author who should be read and taught.


Anonymous said...

Sharon Creech is probably the most amazing writer I known. The most favored books I have read are Granny Torelli Makes Soup and Walk Two Moons. She has inspired me so much from those books, that I would love to read more.

Lace said...

Sharon Creech is My Favorite author. I love her books so much that when I read them it's like I'm involved in her stories. They're the most amazing books that I have ever experianced reading. She's just such a great writer. I can't wait to read more of her books!