Paul Fleischman Biography

Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Fleischman is a versatile American writer whose hallmarks are the attention that he gives to voices and sounds, the authenticity with which his stories depict their historical backgrounds, the ease with which he blends past and present, and the fascination he shows for the influences that people and their environments can have upon one another. He publishes nonfiction as well as fiction, poetry, and prose in books for both children and young adults. Whatever the audience or the genre, he dramatizes, if sometimes ironically and sparsely, the moral and emotional issues of human conduct. His work has been twice recognized with a Newbery Medal (Joyful Noise, 1989, and Bull Run, 1993) and chosen for many best-book lists.

Paul Fleischman was born in 1952, in Monterrey, California, and raised in Santa Monica. The son of a Newbery Medal winner (Sid Fleischman, The Whipping Boy, 1987), he meant to have a profession different from his father's. As a child, he spent many hours listening to his father read the chapters of his books to the family as he finished writing them. Yet, Paul did not begin to enjoy reading himself, he says, until he reached high school and discovered John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. After that, he was reading "Mark Twain, Gogol, Russian novels, all kinds of things." At about the same time that he became fascinated with history and historical research, he also began to enjoy classical music. Devouring his public library's rich collection, he absorbed the music of such masters as Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. He became sensitive to the sounds made by insects and birds as well as humans and deft at matching voices and cadences to...

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

On September 5, 1952, in Monterey, California, Paul Fleischman was born to Albert Sidney, well-known children's author, and Beth Taylor Fleischman. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, from 1970-72 and graduated with a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1977. He is married, has two children, Seth and Dana, and lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Prior to writing full time he worked at a variety of jobs: a carpenter, bagel baker, bookstore clerk, library aide, and proofreader. He is a member of the Authors Guild and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

His books have received numerous awards including a Newbery Honor Book medal for Graven Images: Three Stories in 1983 and the Newbery Medal in 1989 for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. Whirligig received the Golden Kite Honor Book from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in 1999.

His love of music influences his writing as he blends musical language with quirky looks at the world. He said of himself in School Library Journal, "I'm a maker at heart . . . I collect materials, relying heavily on chance. I sort and discard. I envision possible shapes the book might take.... A sculpture grows upward; paragraphs grow down."

His writing embraces a variety of themes and styles across varied genres. He is equally at ease writing poetry for multiple voices as he is writing fantasy, historical fiction, or contemporary realistic fiction.

He grew up in Santa Monica, California, hearing his father's stories as they came out of his typewriter. He said in School Library Journal, "I was exposed to books, but was not a reader and certainly had no plans to be a writer." He and his sisters spent their time exploring the beach town where they lived, riding their bicycles up and down every street and alley....

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Fleischman loves researching "out-of-the-way corners of American history", and he incorporates many interesting and little-known historical facts into his fiction. He says that he reads randomly and voraciously in hopes of uncovering ideas for his stories, but that he often discovers them accidentally while poking around in libraries and used book stores.

Fleischman also loves music. He says, "If only I could write music I'd give up writing books in an instant." He combines his passion for music with his literary talentsthrough the sound of words. He reports that he spends more time tinkering with the harmony of the sounds involved in composing a story than with figuring out the sense of it. For his recognition of the importance of "a story's sound shape," he gives credit to the many pleasurable hours spent during his childhood listening to his father, author Sid Fleischman, read drafts of his writings.

Fleischman was born on September 5, 1952, in Monterey, California, was brought up in Santa Monica, and lives in Pacific Grove. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He has worked in libraries and bookstores, as well as a bagel baker, and an editorial proofreader. Fleischman's father characterizes his middle child as witty and intelligent, and reports that Paul's fascination with music began early and that he was able to excel in school with very little effort....

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Fleischman was born on September 5, 1952 in Monterey, California. His parents were Sid Fleischman, himself a notable author of books for young people, and Beth (nee Taylor). Fleischman excelled in school, eventually attending the University of California, Berkeley from 1970 to 1972, and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque from 1975 to 1977, where he received his bachelor's degree. He married Becky Mojica, a registered nurse, on December 15,1978; they have had two children.

Fleischman's The Half-a-Moon Inn received the Commonwealth Club of California Award in 1980 and was named a Golden Kite Award Honor Book for 1981. Path of the Pale Horse was named a Golden Kite Award Honor Book for 1983. Graven Images: Three Stories was a 1983 Newbery Honor Book. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices received the Newbery Medal in 1989; the Newbery medal is given annually by the American Library Association to what it deems to be the best book for children or young adults published in the previous year. Book reviewers have generally praised Fleischman's work, but in recent years some have complained that his writings for young adults are too brief, leaving little room for characterization.

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Fleischman was born in 1952 in Monterey on the California coast, and grew up in another coast-side city, Santa Monica. He attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, and then later at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he lived for a time. He has since returned to his roots, Pacific Grove, near Monterey, where he lives with his wife, Becky Mojica, and their two children, Dana and Seth.

His father is the well-known writer of books for children, Sid Fleischman. As a result, Paul was exposed to books early, but he did not find the profession of writing to be extraordinary, and his father's success did not seem to ignite his interest in reading. Fleischman says that if he had his choice, he would rather write music than stories. However, believing that he has limited talent for music, he has contented himself by incorporating musical concepts into his writing—as shown by his book Rondo in C (1988), and Joyful Noise (1988).

Fleischman has won many awards for his books. The Half-a-Moon Inn (1980) received the Commonwealth Club of California Award. It was also honored by the Society of Children's Book Writers. Graven Images: Three Stories was selected as a Newbery Honor Book in 1983. Path of the Pale Horse received the Golden Kite Honor Book Award (1983), and Joyful Noise won the 1989 Newbery Medal.

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Fleischman's career as a writer was his second choice. In an autobiographical sketch, he wrote, "If only I could write music I'd give up writing books in an instant." Through writing, however, this author has found that he can combine his literary talents with his love of music—he is challenged by the sound of words. Fleischman reports that he spends more time tinkering with the harmony of the sounds involved in composing a story than with figuring out the sense of it. For his recognition of the importance of a story's sound "shape," he gives credit to the many pleasurable hours spent during his childhood listening to his father, author Sid Fleischman, read drafts of his writings.

Paul Fleischman's works include...

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Paul Fleischman Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Because his father is a noted author of children's books, one might assume that Paul Fleischman grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps, but he did not seriously entertain the thought of a writing career until he was in college. Nevertheless, it is clear that he had a creative spirit from the time he was a child. Paul Fleischman was born September 5, 1952 in Monterey, California. His mother, Beth Taylor Fleischman, was a homemaker. His father, Albert Sidney Fleischman—known professionally as Sid Fleischman—was the highly esteemed author of many classic children's books, including The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, Chancey and the Grand Rascal, and the "McBroom" series of tall tales. Although Paul was not a reader, he...

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