IntroductionTo many, Jane Yolen is the J. R. R. Tolkien of contemporary children’s literature. As a writer, she has dedicated herself to creating science fiction and fantasy stories for young audiences. While some of her works, such as The Young Merlin Trilogy, were re-imaginings of well-known tales from Western literature, her other writings have culled folklore from numerous non-Western cultures to expose them to English-speaking youth. Yolen is particularly noted for her short-form work, producing numerous stories of her own and editing those of others. Yolen’s commitment to children’s fantasy continues to extend far beyond her own prolific output. She has dedicated herself to supporting subsequent generations of fantasy writers and in doing so has further established the genre’s relevance.
- Yolen’s most famous novels are Dragon’s Blood, Heart’s Blood, and A Sending of Dragons, which collectively compose the Pit Dragon Trilogy.
- At nearly 40 years of age, Yolen discovered her writing career begin to take off after she completed a master’s degree in education.
- Yolen’s fiction for children is complemented by poetry, such as her well-known “Angels Fly Because They Take Themselves Lightly.”
- In addition to her own writing, Yolen has edited numerous collections of fantasy and science fiction stories for children.
- Yolen has been an outspoken critic of Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. In addition to slamming Rowling for her writing style, Yolen has repeatedly grumbled about the similarity between Rowling’s books and Yolen’s own Wizard’s Hall.
All Resources by Category
- An Infestation of Unicorns Summary / Study Guide
- Armageddon Summer Study Guide (quickNotes)
- Briar Rose Summary / Study Guide
- De Natura Unicorni Summary / Study Guide
- Dragonfield Study Guide (quickNotes)
- Friend Summary - Jane Yolen
- Hobby Summary / Study Guide
- Lady Merion's Angel Summary / Study Guide
- Lost Girls Summary / Study Guide
- Merlin Summary / Study Guide
- One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King Summary / Study Guide
- Passager Summary / Study Guide
- Sister Light, Sister Dark Summary / Study Guide
- The Face in the Cloth Summary / Study Guide
- The Gift of Sarah Barker Summary / Study Guide
- The Wild Hunt Summary / Study Guide
- White Jenna Summary / Study Guide
- Wilding Summary / Study Guide
The award-winning Armageddon Summer represents the first collaborative effort of prolific authors Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville. Both are primarily fantasists whose publishing credits reflect a strong interest in literature for children and young adults. The life stories of both authors include a childhood love of books and writing in which family influences play a part. Yolen particularly claims an interest in religious matters that developed in her early years. Although both authors are equally responsible for Armageddon Summer, they agree that Yolen conceived the idea and led the way.
Yolen was born in New York City, New York, on February 11, 1939, into a Jewish family gifted in storytelling and writing. Her father, Will Hyatt Yolen, worked as a journalist and publicist and wrote books and radio scripts. Her mother, Isabelle Berlin Yolen, liked to write stories and develop puzzles and acrostics (taking the first or last letter of a word and creating a word or phrase from that). Encouraged by her parents, Yolen read fairy tales and studied music at an early age. She wrote the musical for her first-grade class. As an eighth-grader at Hunter, a New York school for gifted girls, she composed a paper in rhyme, as well as wrote a nonfiction piece about pirates and a seventeen-page western novel. Yolen's first book Pirates in Petticoats, published in 1963, grew from these efforts.
During her high school years in Westport,...
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Jane Yolen was born in New York City on February 11, 1939, and she went to grade schools there until she attended high school in Westport, Connecticut. She was encouraged in imaginative pursuits by a family life rich in writing, storytelling, and singing. She studied piano and ballet, read avidly, and showed talent at a very early age, composing the script and music for her first-grade class play. While an eighth-grader at New York's Hunter Academy, a school for gifted girls, she authored two "books," a nonfiction piece on pirates and a seventeen-page western novel. Yolen's first book accepted for publication, a children's nonfiction work Pirates in Petticoats (1963), developed from those early efforts.
Yolen continued to thrive in her teenage years; she was active on the staff of the high school newspaper, joined music groups, wrote term papers in verse, and won an English prize. Yolen, who is Jewish, developed a lasting interest in religions during these years, and she was introduced to Catholicism by a best friend. A cousin-by-marriage, whom Yolen credits as a great influence in her creative career, introduced her to Quakerism as well as to folk-song fests. Yolen's later nonfiction books about the Quakers and their strange offshoot, the Shakers, as well as the fictional The Gift of Sarah Barker, reflect these early religious influences.
Yolen attended Smith College where she won poetry prizes, published poems in magazines, and performed...
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With over 125 books to her credit, Jane Yolen has been called "the American Hans Christian Andersen" by her editor, Arm K. Beneduce. Fascinated all her life by the folk legends of the world, she has adapted much of that material for her books. A precocious child who could read even before entering school, she also loved folk music; later while at Smith College, she helped support herself as a folk singer and poet. Medieval folklore, particularly Arthurian legends, is her favorite source material and forms the background for several of her books.
Yolen was born in New York City on February 11, 1939. Her father, Will Hyatt was an author who specialized in human relations. Her mother, Isabelle Berlin Hyatt, was a social worker. Yolen attended public school in New York, and later entered Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut. While in her teens she became deeply interested in Quakerism. The rituals of Quakerism, Judaism, and Catholocism would later be incorporated into her fairy tales and novels.
At Staples High School, Yolen was captain of the girls' basketball team, served on the newspaper staff, participated in the jazz, Spanish and Latin clubs, and won the school's English prize. She also toured and performed in the school's choir. Yolen's interest in Quakerism and pacifism intensified with her participation in folk music festivals, called hootenannies, which also helped her develop her interest in poetry and folk songs. She further honed her...
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