Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 468
Rosemary Wells was born in New York City in 1943, but spent most of her childhood years in her parents' home near Red Bank, New Jersey or at her grandmother's home on the Jersey Shore. Her father was English/Australian and their home was filled with books and nineteenth-century music. Wells...
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- Critical Essays
Rosemary Wells was born in New York City in 1943, but spent most of her childhood years in her parents' home near Red Bank, New Jersey or at her grandmother's home on the Jersey Shore. Her father was English/Australian and their home was filled with books and nineteenth-century music. Wells claims to have been a poor student at Red Bank High School; however, her artistic ability gained her entrance into the prestigious Museum School in Boston where she studied art. She left the Museum School at age nineteen to marry Tom Wells and worked as a textbook designer in Boston for two years. When her husband entered the Columbia School of Architecture they moved to New York and Rosemary worked as a designer for another publisher. She and her husband currently live in Briarcliff Manor, New York with their two daughters. They like to end each day by reading aloud to each other.
Wells began illustrating picture books for young children in 1968 and wrote and illustrated her first picture book a year later. Since then she has written and illustrated over two dozen books for young children, many of which have received critical acclaim and awards and have been placed on lists of books recommended for young children. She has received the American Library Association Notable Books for Children Award six times, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award five times, and the School Library Journal Best Books of the Year Award six times. Max's Breakfast (1985) and Max's Christmas (1986) earned all three of these awards. Hazel's Amazing Mother (1985) received the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books award.
Wells is one of few authors who writes equally well for young children and for adolescents. She wrote her first book for adolescents, The Fog Comes on Little Pig Feet, in 1972, and she has written five more since then. Leave Well Enough Alone and When No One Was Looking were both named by School Library Journal as Best Books of the Year. Through the Hidden Door was named Children's Editors' Choice by Booklist and one of the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults. She was awarded the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award for When No One Was Looking and for Through the Hidden Door. She is currently working on a historical novel set in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.
Memories, both good and bad, of Wells's growing up years in New Jersey are incorporated into her books, as are incidents involving her two daughters, Victoria and Beezoo. Wells claims to be an "accomplished eavesdropper" in restaurants, train stations, and any other place where people gather. She combines ideas gathered from these overheard conversations with real events to create stories. Wells enjoys mysteries and says that some day she would like to work for the FBI.