Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 460

Margaret Peterson Haddix claims that from childhood she always thought that becoming a storyteller would be the "grandest thing in the world." The daughter of a farmer and a nurse, she was born April 9, 1964 in Washington Courthouse, Ohio. Haddix grew up on a steady diet of stories, both her father's family stories and the ones she read in books. As early as high school, Haddix knew that she did not want to just tell stories; she wanted to write them. After attending Miami University and majoring in journalism, creative writing, and history, she got jobs at newspapers as a copy editor and a reporter which enabled her to write stories about real events. All the time, though, she continued to pursue her creative writing, working on short stories. Soon, she found that working as a fulltime journalist did not allow her enough time to write. So in 1991, when her husband started a new job in Danville, Illinois, she decided to work part-time and to devote more time to her creative writing.

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Since 1995, when she published Running Out of Time, Haddix has written an impressive number of novels for young adults that deal with a range of provocative topics and represent a variety of genres. Although her novels have little in common in terms of plot or setting, they are all built on ideas and scenarios she encountered while working as a newspaper reporter, and so they are grounded in real world events and issues. Her realistic fiction explores important issues, such as child abuse, family relationships, and religious cults (Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dumphrey, Takeoff and Landings, and Leaving Fishers). Her futuristic dystopia and science fiction ask questions about the implications of environmental policies and scientific experiments (Among the Hidden, Among the Betrayed, Among the Barons, Turnabout). She also mixes realistic stories with fantasy to explore what happens if a time slip story becomes all too real or if Cinderella were just a plain, ordinary girl who married a prince (Running Out of Time, Just Ella).

The quantity and variety of recognition and awards that Haddix's novels have received are evidence of the high quality of her work and its popularity. Haddix's novels consistently appear on lists of best books created by the American Library Association, the International Reading Association, and the American Bookseller. In addition, many of her novels have been nominated for reader's choice awards in a number of states, a testament to the appeal her novels have for young readers. Many of her books interest reluctant readers as well as those wanting to explore more complex stories and ideas. To achieve success like hers as storytellers, Haddix encourages young writers to read, write, listen, pay attention to the world around them, and think a lot.

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