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Born and raised in New York City in the midst of an artistic and politically active family, Avi was always an avid reader, but he struggled in school with writing. Later diagnosed with dysgraphia, a condition that makes him more apt to write words with switched-around letters, teachers thought he was an inattentive and sloppy student, so school was challenging. In spite of this, Avi kept writing and reading.
He attended Antioch University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, from which he graduated with a bachelor of science degree and a master's degree. Avi received his master's degree in library science from Columbia University. Working as a librarian for twenty-five years, Avi worked for eight years in the performing arts research center at the New York Public Library, at Lambeth Public Library in London, and for seventeen years at Trenton State College in New Jersey, where he was an assistant professor as well as the humanities librarian. During his years in school and while working as a librarian, he never gave up his goal to be a writer.
Things That Sometimes Happen was his first published book, appearing on bookshelves in 1970. It was a book of "very short stories for very young readers," just right for his sons, who were at that age. Many of his books are based in historical settings, but Avi is well-known for his diversity. From narrative fiction to graphic novels to short stories to plays, a new Avi book is always interesting, not only because it's a good story but because he challenges himself to try different forms and approaches to telling that story.
Avi's books are wildly popular in classrooms, libraries, and homes. Whether it's a contemporary novel such as S.O.R. Losers, a funny book about a soccer team, or Nothing But the Truth, a gripping young adult novel about lies, deception, and the perception of truth, or a historical novel such as The Secret School, in which kids defy their parents and the town council in order to continue with their education, or The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, in which a very proper young girl sets sail on a trans-Atlantic voyage in 1832 and winds up taking part in a mutiny, everyone has their list of favorite Avi books ... and for many different reasons. Adventure, humor, mystery, thrills, plot twists and turns, experiencing history, looking out through a new pair of eyes, this master writer's books are a treasure trove of reading.
You might not know that Avi and his wife, Linda Wright, co-founded Breakfast Serials, publishing topnotch stories in serial form in more than 700 newspapers around the world, reaching more than thirty-eight million readers. Today, Ms. Wright runs Breakfast Serials. Some of the stories featured have been The Winner's Circle by Jennifer Armstrong, Upriver by A. LaFaye, Janko and the Giant by Joseph Bruchac, Long Road Home by Katherine Paterson, and Keep Your Eyes on Amanda by Avi.
Acting and performing has long been an interest of Avi's. He and several other authors formed the Authors' Readers Theater, which performs in venues around the United States. Other members of this troupe are Katherine Paterson, Bruce Coville, Richard Peck, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Brian Selznick, and Sarah Weeks.
Avi lives and writes in Denver, Colorado.
Sophia's War: a Tale of the Revolution
In 1776, the War of Independence comes to New York City, and to twelve-year-old Sophia Calderwood’s family. William, her older soldier brother, has been missing since the defeat of George Washington’s Army at the Battle of Brooklyn.
When the British occupy the city, Lieutenant John André of the English Army, is boarded at the Calderwood home. He and Sophia develop a flirtatious friendship, which is tested when the girl discovers that William is being held in The Sugarhouse, a notorious British prison. She hopes André can help. When he chooses not to, Sophia struggles to save her brother herself.
Three years later, Sophia becomes a spy in the headquarters of the British Army. There she finds André, now a Major, working to enable a highly placed American General become a traitor, a treason that will endanger the whole American war effort. Deciding to stop the treason—and motivated by personal revenge—Sophia becomes desperate. However, as Sophia learns, desperation’s other name is deception. Indeed, the desperate characters in this thrilling tale of spies and counter-spies, act out many acts of deception, not least by Sophia herself.
Based on true tales of the Revolution, carefully researched, this story will shock and enthrall even those who think they know what happened during the American Revolution. Sophia's War is Avi at his best, a haunting historical thriller.
|City of Orphans
illustrated by Greg Ruth
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2011
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-1416971023
The streets of 1893 New York are crowded, filthy, dangerous. If you are a newsboy like 13-year-old Maks Geless, you need to watch out for Bruno, leader of the Plug Ugly Gang, whose shadowy, sinister boss is plotting to take control of all the newsies on the lower East Side. With Bruno’s boys in fierce pursuit, Maks discovers Willa, a strange girl who lives alone in an alley. It is she, stick in hand, who fights off the Plug Uglies--but further dangers await. Maks must find a way to free his sister Emma from The Tombs, the city jail where she has been imprisoned for stealing a watch at the glamorous new Waldorf Hotel. Maks, believing her innocent, has only four days to prove it. He must confront a teeming world of wealth and crime, while struggling against powerful forces threatening new immigrants and the fabric of family love.
|Crisipin: the End of Time (Book 3)
Balzer + Bray, 2010
After the death of their beloved mentor, Bear, Crispin and Troth are more desperate than ever, wandering the desolate French countryside, where they don't speak the language and know no one. The only hope they cling to is that somehow they can reach Iceland, where Bear had said there were no kings or lords, and where they can live in freedom. Crispin is determined to fulfill this dream, both for himself and to honor Bear's memory. But the road to liberty is filled with danger, betrayal, and loss. Crispin must decide for himself what freedom really means—and how high a price he is willing to pay for it.
|Murder at Midnight
A plot to overthrow King Claudio is brewing in the Kingdom of Pergamontio. Scholarly Mangus the magician—along with his street-smart and faithful new servant boy, Fabrizio—have been marked as easy scapegoats for the traitor lurking within the king's court. Together, these two unlikely partners must gather clues to solve the mystery and prove their innocence before the stroke of midnight . . . or face death!Intricate plotting, surprise twists, and lively prose make for another suspenseful page-turner that stands alone or sets the stage for Midnight Magic.
|Poppy and Ereth
Illus by Brian Floca
Poppy, a deer mouse, and Ereth, a grumbling porcupine, have been the best of friends for as long as the animals of Dimwood Forest can remember. An unstoppable pair ever since they defeated the tyrannical owl, Mr. Ocax, Poppy and Ereth have enjoyed many happy adventures together. But when a swirl of bitter winter storms buries Dimwood Forest in snow and Poppy's husband, Rye, dies suddenly, all Poppy wants is some privacy. “Dancing doorknobs,” Ereth mutters to no one in particular, “how can she not want to see me?” As he waddles back to his log, Ereth fears he may have lost his dear friend forever.
But Ereth has not lost Poppy, at least not yet. As the ground begins to thaw, life returns to Dimwood Forest and Poppy ventures out in search of excitement. Suddenly, swooped up by Luci the bat, Poppy is flying high over the forest and unexpectedly embarks on her greatest adventure. Meanwhile, Ereth, left to his own devices, manages to convince himself that Poppy has died and, as only the old porcupine can do, sets about to give her the best memorial service the forest has ever known.
The last episode of the Poppy stories, Poppy and Ereth is a rousing adventure befitting one of the great heroines of children's literature as well as a final, heartwarming celebration of the life, love, and friendship of two most unlikely companions.
|The Seer of Shadows
ISBN 978-0060000158 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0060000172 (paperback)
The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.
Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.
Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.
Copyright 2002- Children's Literature Network.