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Janet Taylor Lisle has written many novels for young readers, including the Newbery Honor winner Afternoon of the Elves, and The Art of Keeping Cool, which won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Her novels have also received Italy’s Premio Andersen Award, Holland’s Zilverin Griffel, and Notable Best Book distinction from the American Library Association, among other honors. A graduate of Smith College and former journalist, she lives in Rhode Island, the setting for Quicksand Pond, her most recent book.
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Janet Taylor Lisle was born in Englewood, New Jersey, and grew up in Farmington, Connecticut, spending summers on the Rhode Island coast.The eldest child and only daughter of an advertising executive and an architect, she attended local schools and at fifteen entered The Ethel Walker School, a girl’s boarding school in Simsbury, Connecticut.
After graduation from Smith College, she joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). She lived and worked for the next several years in Atlanta, Georgia, organizing food-buying cooperatives in the city’s public housing projects, and teaching in an early-childcare center. She later enrolled in journalism courses at Georgia State University. This was the beginning of a reporting career that extended over the next ten years.
With the birth of her daughter, Lisle turned from journalism to writing projects she could accomplish at home. In 1984, The Dancing Cats of Appesap, her first novel for children, was published by Bradbury Press (Macmillan.) Subsequently, she has published sixteen other novels. Her fourth novel, Afternoon of the Elves (Orchard Books) won a 1990 Newbery Honor award and was adapted as a play by the Seattle Children’s Theater in 1993. It continues to be performed throughout the U.S. Theater productions of the story have also been mounted in Australia and The Netherlands.
Lisle’s novels for children have received Italy’s Premio Andersen Award, Holland’s Zilveren Griffel, and Notable and Best Book distinction from the American Library Association, among other honors. She lives with her husband, Richard Lisle, on the Rhode Island coast, the scene for Black Duck(2006), The Crying Rocks (2003) and The Art of Keeping Cool, which won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2001.