TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Paul Fleischman

Paul Fleischman

Paul Fleischman, the son of the well-known writer Sid Fleischman, grew up surrounded by the sound of language. His father regularly read chapters of his work to the family, and the family gave him suggestions about what should happen next in the story. From this experience, Paul Fleischman says, "We grew up knowing that words felt good in the ears and on the tongue, that they were as much fun to play with as toys." Music was also an important part of the Fleischman household. Fleischman and his mother played the piano, his sisters played the flute, and his father played the guitar. As an adult, Fleischman learned to play the recorder, and he even toured with a recorder group.

Fleischman's love for both music and language has shaped his writing. His books I Am Phoenix, Joyful Noise, and Big Talk are poems for two or four voices to read aloud, like different voices in a choir or instruments in an orchestra. Even in his novels and nonfiction books, Fleischman pays careful attention to the rhythm of his sentences and the sounds of the words he puts together. He has received many awards for his books, including the Newbury Medal in 1989 for Joyful Noise.