When You Reach Me (Stead) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—January 16, 1968
Where—New York City, New York, USA
Education—B.A., Vassar College
Awards—Newbery Medal
Currently—lives in New York City, New York


Rebecca Stead  is an American author who writes books for children and young adults. She won the 2010 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature for her second novel, When You Reach Me.

Personal Life
Born and raised in New York City, Stead enjoyed her elementary school years and remembers fondly the way to make and enjoy tacos. She attended Vassar College and received her bachelor's degree in 1989.

Rebecca Stead is married to attorney Sean O'Brien and has two sons. She and her family live on the upper west side of Manhattan.

Writing Career

Stead enjoyed writing as a child, but as she grew older she felt it was 'impractical' and became a lawyer instead. After years as a public defender she returned to writing after the birth of her two children. On her website she credits her son with inspiring her to write a children's novel, but not in the way one would expect. For years she had collected story ideas and short stories on a laptop, which the child pushed off a table, destroying it and losing all her 'serious' writing. As a way to lighten her mood she began again with something light-hearted. The creation of First Light followed.
First Light

When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me takes place in 1978-1979 New York. The story follows Miranda, a sixth grader, as she recalls the events of the past few months, laying out clues and puzzles as she asks an unseen listener to figure it out. The setting is a tiny slice of Manhattan, filled with abundant details and vivid characters. It has been described as suspense with a bit of the supernatural. Miranda is a great fan of Madeleine L'Engle's classic, A Wrinkle in Time and references to that book help add to the mystery of the novel. Three plot lines run through this novel, seemingly unrelated as the tale begins: Miranda's mother prepares to be a guest on The $20,000 Pyramid; Miranda's lifelong friend Sal will no longer speak to her; and "the laughing man", a very strange homeless man catches Miranda's attention. Publishers Weekly applauds Stead's ability to 'make every detail count' as she creates a plausible conclusion with these divergent and improbable plot lines. A New York Times Book Review called it a "taut novel, every word, every sentence, has meaning and substance. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)

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