As the youngest of five sisters, Megan McDonald could hardly get in a word edgewise at the dinner table. As a result, she began to stutter sometime during elementary school. That's when Megan's mother bought her a notebook so that she could at least get her words onto paper. Little did Megan's older sisters know, this quiet observer would one day become a famous author whose words would be translated into multiple languages. Moreover, many of the anecdotes that appear in the Judy Moody books are actually based on real incidents — like the time Megan scared one of her sisters by hiding a fake hand in the toilet.
You can watch the interview here, view the interview transcript, read a short biography of Megan McDonald, or see a selected list of her children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Megan McDonald was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1959. She grew up in a big family full of storytellers and practical jokers. Megan's father, an ironworker, was known for telling long and entertaining stories. With the help of her mother, Megan began to write stories of her own. At age ten she wrote a story about a pencil sharpener that was published in the school newspaper.
Throughout her childhood, Megan was also an avid reader. During high school she made extra money by shelving books at the local public library. By the time Megan went to college, she already knew that she wanted to become a writer. Megan attended Oberlin College in Ohio and graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on children's literature. After college she worked in a bookstore, as a museum guide, and as a storyteller. After earning a Masters in Library Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, McDonald worked as a librarian and wrote stories for children in her spare time.
Megan McDonald's first published book, Is This a House for Hermit Crab?, was featured on Reading Rainbow in 1991. Soon thereafter her young adult novel, The Bridge to Nowhere, won the Judy Blume Award for Contemporary Fiction. And then in 1999, Judy Moody was published. Little did McDonald know at the time, her feisty third-grade character would soon attract an adoring audience both in the United States and around the world. Judy Moody books have now been translated into 18 languages and have sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Due to popular demand, McDonald has also started a series about Stink, Judy's pesky younger brother.
Megan McDonald and her husband live just north of San Francisco in Sebastopol, California.