Born in Anderson, Indiana, in 1933, the daughter of a mother who was a sometime schoolteacher and a father who worked in sales, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor moved quite frequently. The only constant in her life seemed to be the volumes of books in her home and the love for storytelling that her parents shared with her. From an early age she began to fashion her own stories to amuse and entertain herself. As a child she would create books from the discarded scraps of used paper she found. Writing, illustrating, and fashioning them through folding and stapling, it seems apropos that this child creator of books would grow up to be a creator of some of the best-known and best-loved children’s books of the twentieth century.
When Naylor was sixteen, a former Sunday school teacher asked her to write a story for a church magazine that she was editing. Naylor agreed, and her story about baseball, “Mike’s Hero,” the only one about sports she ever published, appeared in Boys and Girls Comrade and earned for her $4.67. Encouraged by this small success, over the next few years she continued to write and send out many stories for review. In 1951, at the age of eighteen, she married Ted Moreno and entered Joliet Junior College. She received an associate’s degree in 1953 and began working as a secretary to support her husband, who was working on a graduate degree in mathematics. At this time, she read extensively and eclectically and expanded her intellectual horizon under the direction of her husband. She also worked as an elementary school teacher in Hazelcrest, Illinois.
Unfortunately, by 1956 Ted, who was always obsessive and domineering, began to develop a severe mental illness that required extensive hospitalization....
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