TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull says: “When I was fifteen, I was fired from my part-time job at the library. The reason? Reading too much - while I was supposed to be working. Luckily, I had other jobs. One began when I was twelve: playing organ at my church. At seventeen I taught piano lessons to kids in my town. My musical background did inspire several books: Songs of Praise (Harcourt Brace, 1989); Gonna Sing My Head Off: American Folk Songs for Children; and especially, Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) (Harcourt Brace, 1993). Another job involved selling doughnuts and cupcakes at a bakery, which hasn't led to any books so far.

Then, the day after I graduated from college, I began a career in children's publishing and have stayed there ever since. Over the course of eleven years, I worked for four companies as a children's book editor. While on the job, I wrote mysteries in the Trixie Belden series, a collection of Christmas Carols, and a 24-book concept series. Finally, about ten years ago, I started working at home, writing my own books for young people.

I love getting the chance to explore subjects I'm passionate about, like music, and making them meaningful for kids. I'm nosy about people, for example, and the Lives of . . . series allows me to snoop behind the closed doors of some of my favorite groups of (really strange) people. This series, by the way, is not so different from a book I made when I was ten - it was called Hair-Do's and People I Know and starred strange girls, boys, nuns, trees, and lots of hair.

Other books I've written reflect some of my other interests - nightmares, how fame affects people, World War II and other angles to American history, the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, little-known communities around the United States, health and the environment. I remain deeply interested in hair. My newest book, Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman (Harcourt Brace, 1996), comes from my admiration for strong women.

Like most of us, I'm always tuned in to the neighbors (and what they think). I even married one next-door neighbor, an artist and picture framer; we live in San Diego, California, in a house we bought from another neighbor because we liked its pool.

As a child I thought books were the most important thing in the world, and that perception is actually more intense now. I'm grateful, for so many reasons, to be able to work in a vital and exhilarating field: preserving literacy. One of its benefits is that I can't be fired. Especially for reading too much.”

Kathleen Krull grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received her B.A. in English from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. She also studied music at Northwestern University and the North Shore Center of Music in Winnetka, Illinois. She is a former children's book editor and a book reviewer, as well as an author of books for young people. Kathleen Krull lives with her husband in San Diego.

Copyright Harcourt Brace & Company