Friday, March 4, 2011

Author Spotlight: Andrew Clements

If you were to ask Andrew Clements why he became a writer, he may possibly respond the same way he did in an article for
"I didn't wake up one morning when I was in fourth or fifth grade and say, 'I know! I know! I'm going to be a writer!' That never happened to me. I think the reason I'm a writer is because first, I was a reader. I loved to read."

That love of reading isn't the only reason he became a writer, but it seems to be one of the most important ones.

Mr. Clements was a literature major at Northwestern University, where he also did a bit of songwriting and poetry writing on his own time. A professor at a nearby college saw his writing, and she asked him to teach creative writing at a series of summer high school workshops which she'd organized. It was during this experience that he found he liked teaching, and so he completed a Master of Arts degree in teaching from National Louis University.

Beginning in 1972, Andrew Clements taught in public schools north of Chicago, Illinois: two years of fourth grade, three years of eighth grade English, and two years of high school English. After that, he and his wife and 2 1/2 year old son moved to New York City, so he could pursue a singer-songwriter career, which lasted about a year and a half.

From there, he found a job working for a small publisher who specialized in how-to books. Then, he took a position helping a college friend launch a new company which imported children's books from Europe - translating and adapting them for the North American market. This new venture was first called Alphabet Press, and later became Picture Book Studio. Mr. Clements worked there as a sales manager, and an editorial director, and also wrote picture book texts.

Andrew Clements' first published work was A Country Christmas Treasury, about which he says,

"I'd built a number of the projects featured in the book, and I was listed as one of the 'craftspeople' on the acknowledgements page, in tiny, tiny type."

His first picture book was Big Al, published in 1987.

Then, in 1990, when he was doing an author visit at a school, he got the idea for a story about a kid who makes up a new word. That story became his first novel, Frindle, published in 1996. Frindle became Andrew Clements' most popular book, and he credits this title as being the one that ultimately led to his career as a full-time writer. Since then, he has written many novels and books for various age levels, from grades K-12.

Born in Camden, New Jersey, on May 7, 1949, Andrew Clements now lives in Westborough, Massachusetts, with his wife Rebecca. They have four grown children.

Andrew Clements Official Site: Bio
Andrew Clements -
Andrew Clements biography -
Gale Biographies of Children's Authors: Andrew Clements -

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