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White Magic by Kelly Easton

I grew up in Glendora, a suburb of Los Angeles (my first book talks about this town in not-so-pleasant terms). When I was very little, I remember lying on my back and watching white clouds float across the bright blue sky, and the smell of orange blossoms from the groves. I'm a great believer in the power of staring into space (Many of my books end with a character looking at the sky).  In my town, there was a downtown with quirky little shops. One shop had all kinds of gadgets and toys. It was a typical Main Street. By the time I was about seven, though, the sky was gray with smog and it hurt to breathe. The downtown was boarded up, as mini-malls, McDonald's, Taco Bells, and the like mowed down the orange groves. Suburban sprawl has been a theme in many of my plays and in my novel for middle-readers, Trouble at Betts Pets. As soon as I turned 18, I moved to Vermont, and loved it.

I grew up poor and underprivileged, vowing to myself that when I grew up I would create the life I wanted. My childhood was extremely difficult. In fact, I would say I didn't really get a childhood. Perhaps that's why I write for children now. I loved reading and falling into the world of a book like THE WIZARD OF OZ or ALICE AND WONDERLAND. And wanted to create those worlds myself.

In my last year of graduate school, a doctor asked me to create a program using writing and drama to help women who had been sexually abused as children. This work absorbed me for three years and the program is still thriving. Just as we can create a work of art, music, or literature, out of thin air; I believe we can create our own lives and manifest beauty and authenticity in our work, relationships and spirits.

I live in Rhode Island and Martha's Vineyard with my husband Michael Ruben, children; Isabelle and Isaac, and stepchildren: Mollie and Rebecca.  Family Life is my main pleasure.  Oh yes, and we have Garfield, the world's friendliest dog.

"Readers will be captivated by this wonderfully poetic and emotional tale about the acceptance of loss and the power of the imagination," said an early review in Childhood Education, about Kelly Easton's first novel, The Life History of a Star. The young adult novel, published by Margaret McElderry Books, in 2001, went on to win a Golden Kite Honor Award, and was selected by the New York Public Library for Books for the Teen Age; for Booksense 76, ten top books for teens; and for the American Library Association's Popular Paperbacks for Teens list.

Walking on Air, published by Margaret McElderry Books in 2003 won the Julia Ward Howe Honor Award from the Boston Authors' Club, and was the ALA list: Great Reads for Middleschoolers.

Ms. Easton's novel for middle readers, Trouble at Betts Pets, was published by Candlewick Press in 2002, and then licensed by Scholastic Book Club. Canaries and Criminals, a sequel to Betts Pets, was published by Candlewick in 2003.

Aftershock (McElderry Books, 2007) was nominated by the ALA for a Best Book listing, and is on the ALA's Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. 
White MagicSpells to Hold you (Wendy Lamb Books) is a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, 2008; and an Atlanta Parents Monthly Best Book, 2007
What reviewers say about White Magic:
"There are no flat characters here: even the adults have substance without overwhelming the story. Readers may be reminded of Konigsburg's Jennifer,Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (for much younger readers), but Easton's elegant, fluid writing (water is a recurrent symbol), believable teenage emotions and situations, and strong characterizations make the book stand on its own," said Elissa Gershowitz in Horn Book. 
 Hiroshima Dreams (Dutton, 2007), a Premier Selection of the Jr. Library Guild, has won the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award for 2008, the ASTAL Rhode Island Middle School Book of the Year, is on the New York Public Library's Book for the Teen Age list, the 2008-2009 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List, and the Chapel Hill Public Library Best Books List, 2007.

Coming soon:  To Be Mona (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008)

The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009).
In addition to publishing for children, Ms. Easton is widely published as a fiction writer in such literary journals as Kalliope, Frontiers, Connecticut Review, and Paterson Literary Review, among others. She has won the North Carolina Writers Network Fiction Comptetition (1997) and was an Honorable Mention in the Sojourner Fiction Competition (1998), and Robert Ruark Fiction Competition (1998). She has also seen her plays produced in theaters nationally.
Kelly Easton is on the faculty of Hamline University.  She teaches in Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

Ms. Easton has a master's of fine arts in playwriting from the University of California, San Diego. Over the last 10 years, she has taught in English, Creative Writing, and Theater Departments at University of North Carolina, at Wilmington; University of Rhode Island, and Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College.  She is the ASTAL Writer in Residence at Rhode Island college.

She has also used creative writing in therapeutic settings, creating programs at medical clinics and hospices.


Hiroshima Dreams by Kelly Easton
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