Sharon Creech Biography

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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Born on July 29, 1945, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Sharon Creech is a respected author praised for her multilayered stories for young adults. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hiram Collage and her Master of Arts from George Mason University. After working in Washington, D.C., for a number of years, Creech moved to England in 1979 with her children, Rob and Karin, but still maintained her American citizenship.

Beginning in 1979, Creech taught British and American literature for many years at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) England American School, a grade school for the children of expatriate Americans in Thorpe, England, where her husband Lyle D. Rigg was headmaster. She has also taught at the Switzerland branch of that school, and has recently returned with her family to live in the United States. Creech began her first novel a month after her father's death in 1986, and the words have continued to rush out ever since. Her third book, Walk Two Moons, won the School Library Journal Best Book selection in 1994, the Newbery Medal and the American Library Association Notable Children's Book selection in 1995, and the Virginia State Reading Association's Young Readers Award in 1997.


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Sharon Creech was born in 1945 and grew up in the American Midwest, which is the setting for her books for young people. She draws from her own experiences for her writing. Beginning in grade school and throughout high school Creech loved to read, write and tell stories. In order to be heard in her large noisy family Creech learned to exaggerate and embellish her story telling. The family from her first children's book, Absolutely Normal Chaos, is based on memories of her own large family in Cleveland, Ohio. Walk Two Moons is largely derived from Creech's love of Native American mythology and a trip her family took from Ohio to Idaho.

Creech received her undergraduate degree from Hiram College in Ohio and her masters from George Mason University in Virginia. In 1979 she moved to London with her two young children, Rob and Karin, to take a position at the TASIS England American School. As a teacher of American and British literature, Creech's love for literature was passed on to her students through her creative teaching methods. Her students not only studied Hamlet they went to Stratfordupon Avon to see the theatre where Shakespeare's plays are performed in their original setting. During this time Creech met and married Lyle Rigg, assistant headmaster at the school.

Creech's career as a published writer began after the death of her father. Her writing seemed to have flowed after her father's death released him from his earthly handicap of six years, an inability to speak. Her early works include a poem, "Cleansing", and a play, The Center of the Universe: Waiting for the Girl, and two adult novels, The Recital and Nickel Mallery (published under the name of Sharon Rigg in England). Creech's honors and awards include Billee Murray Denny Poetry Award, Lincoln College, Illinois, 1988 for "Cleansing"; Best Books, School Library Journal, 1994, Notable Children's Books, American Library Association, 1995, Newbery Medal, American Library Association, 1995, and Young Readers Award, Virginia State Reading Association, 1997, all for Walk Two Moons.

During the year Creech spends most of her time in Thorpe, Surrey, England. Her summers are spent in the United States at a Lake Chautauqua cabin in New York State visiting with her family and friends.


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Sharon Creech was born July 29, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up as part of a "big, noisy family... with hordes of relatives telling stories around the kitchen table," she explained in the Seventh Book of Junior Authors & Illustrators. She was an enthusiastic writer all through her school years and loved paper, pencils, and pens. A voracious reader, she was particularly interested in American Indian myths, Greek myths, and the King Arthur legends.

Creech earned a bachelor's degree from Hiram College, a master's from George Mason University in Washington, D.C., then worked at the Federal Theater Project Archives, and as an editor at the Congressional Quarterly. In 1979, as a divorced mother of two children, she accepted a teaching position in Thorpe, England, at the TASIS England American School. There she met Lyle D. Rigg, head master, and three years later they married.

Creech lived in Europe for twenty-plus years but maintained her American citizenship and a summer home at Chautauqua Lake, New York. She and her husband recently returned to the United States and live near Princeton, New Jersey. Most of that time she has taught at the international school in England and its sister school in Switzerland. Experiences from that period prompted her to write about the effect those schools and places had on her and her family and all the students she has met over the years. Bloomability was the result.

In "A Guide to Teaching Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird, and Bloomability," Creech makes these statements about herself. "I have a tremendous affection for the people I grew up with and the places I've lived. My rowdy and noisy family was definitely the model for the. . . Taylors in Chasing Redbird. I have three brothers and one sister. When I was growing up LOADS of relatives and friends were always roaming through the house."

Creech says that much of her inspiration comes from her time spent at school:

Some of my material comes from my experiences with students. Seeing students here at our school going through such angst brings back vivid memories of that tumbling time! As a teenager, I always thought that everyone else knew something that I didn't; that there must be a manual out there that I didn't have access to! I still feel that way some days.

For Walk Two Moons I leaned heavily on two things from my own childhood: one was an early love of Native American mythology and the second was a trip my family took from Ohio to Idaho in 1957. Sal's trek across the U.S. was a way for me to write about parents and children, and about my home country.