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, Connecticut, Yolen pursued her writing and won an English prize. At this time she also developed her lasting interest in diverse religions. She was impressed by the Quaker religion when an adored cousin-in-law gave her a copy of the journal of George Fox, its founder. She attended church with a Roman Catholic friend. The observances became a source for the rituals Yolen later wove into her stories and fairy tales. She once noted that The Magic Three of Solatia, published in 1974, is a blend of Jewish, Quaker, and Roman Catholic elements. Yolen has published a number of books, including novels and...
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