Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 438
Even a brief look at Todd Strasser's long list of books reveals the fact that he is one of the most productive authors of young adult literature. From the late 1970s through the 1990s Strasser has written many novels for young readers which use themes with various subject matters and employ different literary styles. Besides novels for young adults he has also published books for adults, as for instance The Family Man (1988), as well as novelizations of well-known family movies such as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), and Disney movies Lady and the Tramp (published 1994) and Peter Pan (published 1994). What is remarkable about the literary achievements of Todd Strasser is the scope of themes he has written about and the diverse age groups he addresses, reaching from young and adolescent readers to adults. Many of Strasser's novels have been awarded with prestigious prizes, including the label of "Best Books for Young Adults" by the American Library Association for Friends Till the End and Rock 'n' Roll Nights.
Born on May 5, 1950 in New York City, Todd Strasser spent his childhood and adolescent years in New York City. He also went to college there for a few years but dropped out and lived in a commune. Later, he went to Europe and earned his living as a street musician. It was here that he started to write songs and poems and that he came to the decision that he wanted to be a writer.
After his return to the United States he went to Beloit College, studied literature and writing, and graduated from there in 1974. Like many of his writer colleagues he started his professional career as a writer for newspapers. His first employment was at the Middletown Times Herald Record followed by the Compton Advertising Company in New York City. With the money he received from selling his first novel Angel Dust Blues in 1979, Todd Strasser started his own business called the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo Fortune Cookie Company. For the next twelve years he made more money in this business than he did from writing books.
At the beginning of the 1990s Strasser, his wife, and two children moved away from New York City. It was then that his most productive time as a writer began. Besides writing numerous movie novelizations such as Home Alone 2, Free Willy, and Jumanji he also started to work on the "Help! I'm Trapped" books and the "Against the Odds" series. Altogether, Strasser has published over ninety books as well as contributed a number of short stories to periodicals and papers such as the New York Times, Esquire, and the New Yorker.